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Struggling Acer pulls out Wang too late, then calls Wong number

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Acer CEO and chairman JT Wang has quit amid widening losses and a resulting company restructure that involves job cuts at the Taiwanese PC maker. The firm has also turned to its retired founder to help carve out a future.

Wang succeeded Gianfranco Lanci at the top of Acer back in March 2011 as the company wrestled with collapsing consumer demand for low-cost notebooks that led to the $150m write-down of aged inventory that year.

He struggled to get the business back on a road to sustained recovery, with analysts reporting declining shipments and with Acer unable to take a bigger share of the industry's shift to slabs.

"Acer encountered many complicated and harsh challenges in the past few years," said Wang in a statement.

"With the consecutive poor financial results, it is time for me to hand over responsibility to a new leadership team to path the way for a new era," he added.

The board has already agreed that corporate president Jim Wong will replace Wang from the start of January. Wang will remain as chairman until June.

Wang added that senior management at company have "crafted a far-reaching plan for Acer's transformation… the management team promises to carry out the internal restructuring".

The immediate restructuring relates to cutting seven per cent of the 8,000 strong global workforce in a bid to save $100m in operational overheads. It also plans to end-of-life certain products. The changes will result in one-time charges of $150m to be reported in calendar Q4.

A Transformation Advisory Committee (TAC) is to be chaired by founder and former CEO Stan Shih as chairman, with company co-founder George Huang as exec secretary.

The TAC will "propose changes in the company vision, strategy and execution plans", the company said.

Coming out of retirement, Shih said Acer had "turned to me for help... after making structural adjustments, we will introduce more competitive products within the existing PC, tablet and smartphone business and stabilise market our share".

Acer numbers for calendar Q3 are in and don't make for pretty reading, unless you are a rival.

Sales fell 11.8 per cent year-on-year to NT$92.1bn (£1.95bn) and Acer posted an operating loss of NT$2.57bn (£54.4m) versus an operating profit of NT$340m.

A intangible asset impairment charge of NT$9.94bn left a loss after tax of NT$13.13bn compared to a profit after tax of NT$68m a year earlier. This charge was related to the write-down on goodwill on Gateway, Packard Bell, Founder, iGware and Eten brands.

Acer said the operating loss was "mainly due to the gross margin impact of gearing up for the Windows 8.1 sell in and related management of inventory". ®

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