After Shih's 6-month stint, Taiwan's Acer gets new chairman

After Shih's 6-month stint, Taiwan's Acer gets new chairman
In a picture taken on June 5, 2014, Acer's founder Stan Shih speaks during an interview with AFP in New Taipei City. It's deja vu for Acer's founder Stan Shih as he prepares to step down later this month -- he retired 10 years ago, but returned to take back the reins of the struggling Taiwanese personal computer maker.

TAIPEI - Taiwan's struggling personal computer maker Acer named a new chairman Wednesday, succeeding founder Stan Shih who had returned from retirement for a six-month stint to launch a series of reforms.

As expected, Shih announced during the annual shareholders' meeting he would resume his retirement and proposed George Huang, one of the company's co-founders, as his successor.

The board endorsed the nomination of Huang, who has been focusing on Internet and e-commerce businesses since the 1990s.

"We now need to build on the foundations of our existing PC, tablet, smartphone and other hardware products to strengthen overall product competitiveness," Huang said.

The 65-year-old also vowed to set aside more resources for a build-your-own-cloud (BYOC) service, which the company sees as the future of cloud computing.

Individuals will be able to build clouds on their own computers to store music, photos and data, and will be able to access them anytime and anywhere through various apps developed by Acer.

"Acer's BYOC has huge potential for development and we will actively embrace new opportunities that arise in era of the cloud," said Huang.

Shih told the media last month that younger talent would be promoted to lead various divisions as the company shifts its focus from hardware to cloud computing.

The reforms mark the company's third major transformation since its founding in 1976. Shih has said he expects Acer to "return to glory" three years from now.

In November Shih replaced chairman and CEO J.T. Wang and corporate president Jim Wong, who resigned after the company reported a net third-quarter loss of Tw$13.1 billion ($442.2 million).

In December Shih relinquished his position of CEO and president to Jason Chen, a former executive with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

Senior executives have taken voluntary salary cuts of 30 per cent since January as Acer struggles financially.

Shih built the firm into the world's second largest PC maker in its heyday, and one of the best known Taiwanese brands internationally, before retiring in 2004.

But Acer's fortunes have worsened in recent years due to competition from Apple and other rivals.

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