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Acer UK boss Watkins quits

Industry old-timer Marshall set to take the hot seat

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Updated: Acer UK boss Bobby Watkins has quit after a string of disastrous quarters in which the firm's sales collapsed, The Register can reveal.

It is understood that Acer veteran Neil Marshall, currently director of global sales and marketing transformation, will be picking up the reins.

Channel sources reckon that Watkins resigned as he did not agree with the direction that the company is taking following a change at the top.

But his departure at the loss-making vendor follows a series of weak quarterly results in the UK, mirroring its troubles worldwide.

Sales into the channel have fallen around 30 per cent this year on a global basis as Acer struggled to control its high inventory levels, and in recent weeks Gartner claimed the glory days were behind the PC player.

In the UK, Acer Q3 sales-in dropped 52 per cent, according to IDC, as distributors and retailers refused to place orders with the company even though the stockholding has reduced significantly.

Watkins – who replaced David Drummond at the start of 2009 – typified the hyper-aggressive sales spirit at Acer that caused the vendor to run into the inventory troubles it encountered this year.

His successor Marshall – who has held channel roles at Fujitsu, Compaq and Acer prior to his current role – has the requisite experience to convince partners they can trust the business again.

An Acer spokesman said: "Neil will be in the UK from next week. Whilst we have agreed an exit date of 31 December 2011 with Bobby, he will exit 'day-to-day' activities as of close of business 5 November, although he has agreed to support Neil to enable an effective handover and transition." ®

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