Acer founder appointed president following disastrous Q3 results

Computer maker Acer has named founder Stan Shih as its interim chairman and president, following the resignation of former chief executive JT Wang and president Jim Wong after the company recorded a record third-quarter loss earlier this month.

Earlier this month, Acer announced its consolidated revenues for the third-quarter of 2013 fell 11.8% year-on-year to $US3.11 billion, resulting in an operating loss of $US86.6 million.

The Taiwanese computer giant, which trades under the Acer, Gateway, Packard Bell, Founder, iGware and ETen brands, also booked a $US335.1 million writedown, for a total after-tax loss of $US442.19 million.

In a statement, the company attributed the losses to litigation, as well as the rollout of Windows 8.1.

“Q3’s operating loss was mainly due to the gross margin impact of gearing up for the Windows 8.1 sell in and the related management of inventory. In addition, in Q3, there were one time compensation payments related to the long standing eMachines consumers litigation. This is now settled,” the company said.

On November 5th, following the release of the horror results, the company announced Wong would succeed Wang as chief executive as of January 1st, 2014.

“We are very grateful for Wang’s contribution and hard work. The past two to three years have been extremely tough for Acer due to the rapidly changing industry and market conditions,” Acer said in a statement.

The company also announced plans to restructure the company.

However, less than one month after announcing Wong’s promotion to chief executive, the company have announced both executives will resign, with founder Shih taking over the helm without pay.

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

“I will honour and complete all the public affairs and event engagements that I have committed to, but I will also fully support Acer’s ICT device business and carry out the company transformation. In addition, George Huang who is one of my co-founding partners of Acer will join with me and the management team to lead our company at this time.”

The upheaval at Acer comes at a weak time for the global PC market, with shipments falling by 8.6% during the third quarter of 2013, marking the sixth consecutive quarter of falls, according to figures from Gartner.

The news was made worse by the fact the third quarter is often called the “back to school” quarter for US PC sales, with sales historically buoyed by parents in the US upgrading computers at the start of the new school year.

However, in 2013 the “back to school” quarter turned into a blood bath for the PC industry, with sales diving 8.6% year-on-year from 87.8 million units in the third quarter of 2012 to 80.2 million in the third quarter of 2013.

Acer bore the brunt of the sales drop, with unit shipments down a massive 22.6% from 8.6 million units a year ago to just 6.6 million during the quarter in 2013.

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