Ghilardi Is Out As Lenovo North America President

Emilio Ghilardi has stepped down as Lenovo's North America president, effective Monday, July 31, after less than 18 months in the job and has left the company.

A statement from Lenovo media relations did not provide a reason for Ghilardi's sudden departure.

Christian Teismann, currently senior vice president and general manager of Lenovo's worldwide Enterprise Business Segment, has assumed responsibilities for Ghilardi's duties "in the interim," the statement said.

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"He is familiar with the North America market from his longtime, successful leadership of Lenovo's Global Accounts business," the company said.

No additional details behind Ghilardi's departure were disclosed.

Ghilardi's exit is the latest in a string of executive departures from the company, including Gerry Smith, COO and head of the company's PC and mobile device business, who left in January.

Ghilardi joined Lenovo in July 2015 as vice president and chief operating officer of Lenovo North America and was promoted to president, North America in April 2016. He joined the company from Hewlett Packard where he worked for more than three years.

Lenovo, a major player in the PC market, has struggled in recent years as global PC sales have slowed. At the same time, the Beijing, China-based company has struggled to gain traction in the market for data center systems despite its $2.1 billion acquisition of IBM's x86 server business in September 2014.

In the statement announcing Ghilardi's departure, Lenovo said the executive led the company to its "highest PC share in North America" and that it "is committed to growing its business here across all customer segments through innovation and a relentless focus on customer experience."

Last week Lenovo Chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing was quoted by Chinese media, speaking at the company's annual Tech World conference in Shanghai, as making a "lighthearted comment" that he'd step down if the company failed to hit sales targets – including an aggressive goal of $12 billion in annual online PC revenue within three years.

A source close to Lenovo, who did not want to be identified, said Ghilardi's exit comes with Lenovo's server and PC business unprofitable and the company struggling to innovate at the same pace as competitors like Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

When Lenovo bought IBM's server business, many of the top technical talent stayed with Big Blue and focused on IBM's Watson cognitive computing technology, the source said.

"One of the things that went catastrophically wrong when they bought the server business from IBM is the best and brightest engineering talent never joined the company," he said. "Lenovo bought a product business with no road map and no future. They didn't get the internal intellectual property to help them navigate to the hyper-converged market. The gas tank was empty."