Lenovo's New Think Product Boss Aiming For SMB Dollars


Lenovo's new Think Product Group chief hopes to build on the company's recent growth by continuing to push aggressively into the SMB market with an expanding portfolio of commercial products.

"We've had very strong growth due to a couple things," said Peter Hortensius, a Lenovo senior vice president who was named in March to succeed the recently retired Fran O'Sullivan to head the Morrisville, N.C.-based company's Think Product Group, which includes ThinkPad notebooks, ThinkCentre desktops, ThinkVision monitors, ThinkStation workstations and ThinkServer servers.

"One, we have a lot of exposure in the Asian markets and they've recovered fast [from the recession]. But the other factor is that we've been aggressively attacking the transactional market, the SMBs, and that's been a very good area for us to tap," said Hortensius, who spoke to ChannelWeb.com Friday.

Hortensius cited client PC shipment figures for the fourth quarter of 2009 that pointed to Lenovo beating out competitors in growing its desktop and notebook businesses back to pre-recession levels.

"How did we do that? We created products that map well to the segments we're going after. We did well with our Essential series and with our ThinkPad product line dedicated to small business," he said.

Hortensius joined Lenovo in 2005 and was head of the ThinkPad Notebook Business Unit before taking over leadership of the company's full commercial systems business this March. In his new role, he remains in charge of the ThinkPad Notebook Business Unit. Hortensius came to Lenovo following a 17-year career with IBM that included leading product development efforts for the ThinkPad and ThinkCentre product lines that Lenovo acquired as part of its
$1.75 billion purchase of the IBM PC Company Division in 2005.

In his new role, Hortensius will be working more closely with Lenovo's channel sales organization.

"The channel is our core mechanism at reaching the market. It's been a major piece of how we've been successful, working with partners in the channel," he said. "We've been driving a lot to get the channel partners to understand that we're committed to them and not trying to find ways around them."

Lenovo lost its North American channel chief earlier this year, when long-time channel veteran Stephen DiFranco inked a deal with Hewlett-Packard to head up HP's Americas channel organization.

Lenovo is "still in the process" of finding a replacement for DiFranco, a company spokesperson said Friday.