Departing Acer chief Lanci will not go to Samsung
Rumours not worth the electrons they're printed on
Talk of former Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci joining Samsung to head up its channel business or notebook biz is wide of the mark, The Register understands.
Rumours emanating from the Far East over the weekend place Lanci at the Korean giant from next month, but the speculation will amount to nothing, say European sources familiar with the situation.
For a start, the Italian exec signed a one-year non-compete clause with Acer before he left at the end of March – designed to prevent Acer's previously long-serving head honcho from spilling the beans on its corporate strategy.
Samsung could stump up a pile of cash to release the contract and pay for any litigation, but Acer would be unlikely to buckle at a time when it is already vulnerable.
Taiwanese firm Acer is re-designing corporate strategy to reduce reliance on peddling hardware to consumers, and with sales tanking has enlisted industry old-timer Bernd Bischoff to strengthen its foothold in the commercial market.
This mirrors the challenge facing Samsung; its notebook range is also too dependent on retailers. Earlier this year, Samsung tweaked its structure to create a standalone B2B division and has lofty ambitions for sales
In Q1 of this year, IDC data showed that Samsung was the seventh-largest notebook vendor on the planet, with market share of 6.9 per cent – up from 4.5 per cent a year earlier – but the lion's share of shipments were to consumers.
Closer to home, Samsung was the fifth biggest-selling portable player in EMEA, with 9.4 per cent market share – again sales mostly came from retailers.
Next is the flat management structure employed by Samsung, and the fact that senior worldwide bosses are all Korean.
Lanci was a hands-on operational guy – heading up a tech firm that employs 7,000 people worldwide meant he had to be – and after so many of years of autonomy is unlikely to fit the Samsung mould, say sources.
"He works on the ground, close to the field sales teams," insists one.
Samsung makes decisions centrally and they are rolled out to the letter by the local management team.
Lanci's skill in masterminding Acer's rise to the top of the global notebook market was his ability to adapt strategies on a market by market basis.
It is understandable that Samsung wants to be associated with a hard-nosed sales and marketing expert, and it would have deep pockets to pay off Acer, but it is not the job for Lanci, sources close to the man say.
As for Samsung, it got burned by stuffing the channel with its Galaxy Tabs in the Christmas quarter – and while this was but a drop in the ocean of stock Acer is wading through – it revealed the limitations of the model.
This is one part of the Acer model that no rivals want to mimic.
So talk of Lanci joining Samsung is just that, idle gossip: possibly pushed out by someone close to the Korean giant designed to press harder on Acer at a time when it is under pressure to find its golden touch again.
Acer refused to comment and Samsung was unavailable to comment at the time of going to press. ®
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