Sun, Aug 27, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Lenovo poaches yet another top officer from Dell

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , SHANGHAI, CHINA

Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想), the world's third-largest computer maker, has hired its fourth Dell executive in little more than a week, continuing to poach top officers from its bigger rival.

Lenovo, the Chinese computer maker that paid US$1.25 billion last year to acquire the personal computer business of IBM, has been moving aggressively to strengthen its executive ranks as it tries to transform itself into a global computer giant in a competitive market.

Recently, Lenovo has been doing that at the expense of Dell, the world's largest maker of personal computers. Dell has struggled with a series of setbacks, including souring profit growth, a stumbling share price and the largest safety recall in the history of the consumer electronics industry. Lenovo is seeking to gain ground on Dell and its other bigger rival, Hewlett-Packard.

Lenovo is also trying to become one of China's first home-grown global brand names, signing up as a sponsor for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, enlisting celebrities to promote its products, hiring foreign executives and refashioning a company that grew out of a small computer shop in Beijing. Today, its president and chief executive is William Amelio, a former senior executive at Dell, and it has executive offices in Beijing, Singapore and Purchase, New York.

Lenovo's hiring spree is helping reshape the battle among the world's biggest computer makers in an industry contending with falling prices and shrinking margins.

Dell posted poorer-than-expected second-quarter earnings this month and said the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating its accounting practices. The company also recalled 4.1 million laptop batteries made by Sony because of the risk of fires.

With Dell slumping, Lenovo said on Thursday that it had hired Christopher Askew, 44, a vice president of Dell Services in Asia-Pacific and Japan, as a senior executive in charge of the new Lenovo Services business unit based in Singapore.

That hiring came days after three other Dell executives based in Asia joined Lenovo, which hired Amelio in December. Amelio had served as Dell's president, Asia-Pacific and Japan.

On Monday, Lenovo said that it had hired David Schmoock, 37, a vice president for marketing for Dell Asia-Pacific and Japan, as the head of its new center of excellence, which will be responsible for forecasting, sales, pricing and inventory management.

Four days before that, on Aug. 17, Lenovo said it had hired David Miller, 42, the head of Dell China, and Sotaro Amano, 38, Dell's corporate director for home and business sales in Japan.

Miller will serve as Lenovo's president Asia-Pacific, and Sotaro was named president of Lenovo Japan.

Shares of Lenovo, which has moved its corporate headquarters from Beijing to Purchase, and Dell, which is based in Round Rock, Texas, have both been slumping.

Even though Lenovo has gained some market share in China, its largest market, Dell and Hewlett-Packard remain much bigger and have much better brand-name recognition.

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