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By | Paul Kunert 21st November 2013 13:41

Acer kills CEO job before CEO starts: All goes Wong after Wang pull-out

Parachutes in former chairman Stan who refuses salary

It is a momentus day for ailing PC maker Acer: founder and former CEO Stan Shih has agreed to exit retirement, albeit temporarily, to try to dig the business out of a deepening hole.

Just weeks after the resignation of CEO and chairman JT Wang - the man that replaced Shih in 2005 - the board at the Taiwanese firm elected the veteran as chairman and interim corporate president.

Shih was only supposed to be steering a turnaround committee alongside fellow co-founder George Huang but with "immediate effect" is back in charge of operations.

Clearing the top decks even further, Acer confirmed that president Jim Wong – who had been due to take over the CEO position from Wang in January – has also quit.

To further strengthen Shih's hand, the board has agreed to remove the position of CEO to "boost ... decision-making efficiency".

"Due to the situation that now faces Acer and my personal social responsibilities, I must stand up and take the reign without salary," said Shih in a statement.

The man can't be short of a bob or two but other tech captains of industry in charge of similarly challenged businesses could well think about mirroring this honourable move. Seems unlikely.

Then again Shih still has more than 78 million shares in Acer so has a vested interest in any regeneration plan succeeding, not to mention his emotional ties to the organisation.

The resignation of Wang and Wong were "reluctantly accepted" said Acer and both have agreed to hang around as advisors during the "transfer of the management team".

The top level departures follow a string of declining PC sales and mounting losses, as Acer struggles to recover from the netbook crash and waning consumer appetite for low-cost notebooks.

The last time Acer recorded worldwide PC shipment growth was Q2 in 2012 when they grew 1.4 per cent on the back of strong sales in EMEA, IDC data shows.

It was the world's second largest player in 2009 with market share of 18 to 20 per cent, playing second fiddle to HP, according to Gartner.

In recent Q3 numbers Acer was in fourth with a share of just over eight per cent - and that is before tablets and smartphones are included - areas that Acer has struggled to gain a foothold.

Shih will remain as chairman and interim corporate president until the end of his term on the board in June/ July when the next shareholder meeting is scheduled. ®

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