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Acer America Taps New President

Acer America is bringing a new president on board, tapping Rudi Schmidleithner, a former top European executive for the company, to take over its Pan American Operations.

In an announcement expected in the coming days, Acer said Schmidleithner will replace Patrick Lin, who is opting to accept a senior management post with the Acer IT Products Business Group. Lin will report into Acer headquarters in Taipei, Tawian, the company said.

Lin was credited with turning around Acer America's operations during his three-year tenure at its helm, restoring the unit to profitability last year.

Schmidleithner actually began working out of Acer America's San Jose, Calif.-based offices last week and was behind the scenes at the COMDEX show this week in Las Vegas, meeting with partners and customers, company executives said.

Jeffrey Friedrichs, vice president of Acer America's Notebook Business Unit, said that Lin helped reorganize and restore profitability to the company during his tenure, and that the company believes Schmidleithner is poised to grow it to the next level.

"While Rudi was in Europe, they did do some reorganization a few years ago, focusing on business units," Friedrichs said. "They always had a focus on the channel."

Among Acer America's key products are its TravelMate and Aspire 2000 notebook lines, where Friedrichs believes the company is in good position to gain marketshare due, in part, because of the company's channel-only sales strategy, which has eschewed even direct online sales from Acer to end users.

Friedrichs said Acer America had already been at work in readying some new channel recruitment efforts for the first quarter of next year, and that Schmidleithner is expected to bring forward some of his own channel initiatives.

Part of the desktop, notebook and server vendor's strategy going into 2004 will be to work with distributors to provide a more direct relationship between Acer and its resellers, Friedrichs said.

"They'll start seeing more Acer people in the field," Friedrichs said. The program will be rolled out in cooperation with its distributors, which include Tech Data, Synnex and D&H Distributing, among others.

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