Lenovo Americas President Steps Down

Scott Smith

The Chinese computer giant said it's searching for a replacement for Smith. Rory Read, senior vice president of operations, will take on Smith's responsibilities on an interim basis, according to the company. Smith will be working with Read on a transition plan over the next several weeks.

Stephen Mungall, vice president of worldwide and Americas channels at Lenovo, who reported to Smith, was calling Lenovo partners Tuesday to inform them of Smith's departure.

Smith's exit comes after Lenovo reported slumping U.S. sales for its fiscal second quarter ended Sept. 30. Lenovo's U.S. notebook sales in the quarter came in at $1.91 billion, and its U.S. desktop sales totaled $1.57 billion.

In a November meeting with analysts, Lenovo Group Chairman Yang Yuanqing noted that "the board and management will not be content with such performance. We believe there is a lot of room for improvement."

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Overall, Lenovo reported revenue of $3.7 billion for the second quarter, compared with $3.65 billion a year earlier. Lenovo's profit attributable to shareholders was $38 million in the quarter vs. $45 million in the year-ago period.

Lenovo Group CEO William Amelio has said the computer giant will work to drive worldwide supply chain improvements over the next 18 months, including a further rollout of an SAP system and a reduction in the number of models and SKUs in the company's product lineup. Lenovo also will be "revamping our design process as well to make sure our reliance on sole source components is a lot less," he said.

Smith joined Lenovo with the company's $1.75 billion acquisition of IBM's PC business in May 2005. He served 22 years at IBM, where he was vice president and general manager of the Americas in IBM's Personal Computing Division.

Jay Tipton, vice president of Technology Specialists, a Fort Wayne Ind.-based solution provider, said he doesn't expect Smith's departure to have a negative impact on sales. Technology Specialists' Lenovo sales were up about 20 percent in 2006 to about $250,000, Tipton said.

Tipton praised the channel inititiatives and responsiveness being driven by Mungall. "Lenovo is doing a good job of following through with channel partners," Tipton said. "I hope whoever gets the new job continues to be open and responsive to the channel."