Acer's Stan Shih asserts capacity to innovate, hits back at his critics

PHOTO: Acer's Stan Shih asserts capacity to innovate, hits back at his critics

TAIPEI - Stan Shih (施振榮) yesterday responded to critics of his return to the helm of beleaguered Acer Inc. by stating that he is still capable of facilitating innovation.

At a public engagement yesterday, Shih asserted that he is capable of leading Acer out of its current woes, citing numerous innovative achievements during his previous tenure as company chairman. A committee designed to oversee sweeping reforms at the company has been set up, said Shih.

According to reports, Shih's return to the company's helm was not received with exuberance by industry observers and investors, who deemed his strategic vision to be "still stuck in the age of PCs" amid rapid declines observed throughout the sector.

In response, Shih cited his innovative contribution of the Aspire XC small form factor PCs, and his guidance in transitioning the company into a service provider amid declining prospects as a manufacturer over a decade ago. Shih also quipped that during his nine years in retirement, his brain has been upgraded from 32 bits to 64 bits, and remains just as innovative as his peers in the global technology sector.

Acer faces tremendous challenges in the company's ongoing internal reforms, requiring sound guidance, direction and time, said Shih.

A framework for reform has been established around the objectives of "value creation," the "balance of interests," "coexistence of Western and Eastern cultures," and the "balancing of the company's current operations and more entrepreneurial endeavours," Shih added.

"Our teams are going through a brainstorming phase to devise a new direction for the company," said Shih. Once a consensus is reached, the company hopes to implement new plans in one or two months, and transform Acer into a company that offers "hardware plus software plus services," he said.

Shih concluded that he remains committed to preserving the interests of Acer's multitude of employees and long-term investors, pledging that the company will not meet the same fate as Dell, who announced a US$24.9 billion privatization buyout deal last month, which saw its shares subsequently delisted from the NASDAQ exchange.

Shih was reinstated as president and chairman of Acer earlier this month, following disastrous third-quarter performance results, with operating losses reaching NT$2.57 billion. Shih was appointed by the company's board to replace former Chairman and CEO Wang Jeng-tang (王振堂) and President Jim Wong (翁建仁), who tendered their resignations.