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Acer's chairman names Huang as replacement

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Acer Inc. (宏碁股份) Chairman Stan Shih (施振榮) said Thursday that he will recommend George Huang (黃少華), co-founder of the struggling Taiwanese PC maker, to replace him after he steps down in June.

In a press statement, Shih implied that Huang, 65, has been groomed since late last year to take over as chairman of the company.

As executive secretary of the Transformation Advisory Committee that was established last November, Huang has been working with the committee members to review Acer's reform initiatives and to develop a long-term vision for the company, Shih said in the statement.

Jason Chen a CEO Candidate

Huang also took part in the process of selecting a new chief executive officer (CEO), Shih said, disclosing that he and Huang together had interviewed the successful candidate Jason Chen (陳俊聖).

“Though the three of us sometimes have different opinions on an issue, we can reach an agreement quickly and implement the decision separately in the reform initiatives,” Shih said.

He is scheduled to step down as chairman of the company on June 18 but will continue to serve as a director, lead the Transformation Advisory Committee and oversee Acer's cloud strategy.

Shih said he will recommend that Acer's board of directors choose Huang as Acer's new chairman.

Huang has been working as a supervisor at Acer since 2005. He is an independent director of Web portal PChome Online Inc. (網路家庭), cell therapy company Bionet Corp. of Taiwan (訊聯生技), and Hong Kong-based entertainment group Golden Harvest (橙天嘉禾).

Acer on Thursday nominated six candidates for the next election of its board of directors, namely Shih, Huang, Chen, Shih's wife Carolyn Yeh (葉紫華), former chief financial officer Philip Peng (彭錦彬), and Lin Hsin-yi (林信義), former chairman of the Industrial Technology Research Institute.

In addition, the board nominated three candidates for the election of independent director — F.C. Tseng (曾繁城), current independent director; Lee Ji-ren (李吉仁), a professor of International Business at National Taiwan University; and Cheng Wu (吳錦城), chairman and co-founder of mobile media service provider Azuki Systems Inc.

The candidates' names will be submitted for approval at Acer's annual shareholders' meeting on June 18.

Acer Returns to Black in Q1

Acer Inc. said Thursday that it returned to slight profitability in the first quarter after posting losses for three consecutive quarters, thanks to effective control of inventory and costs and stabilizing gross profit.

The money-losing PC manufacturer reported operating income of NT$127 million (US$4.2 million) and after-tax profit of NT$1 million, representing earnings per share of NT$0.0004.

Acer achieved a surplus in profit after tax despite its first-quarter consolidated revenue of NT$76.72 billion declining by 11.4 percent quarter-on-quarter and by 16.6 percent year-on-year, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

In addition, Acer's board of directors approved the cancellation of 55.6 million treasury stocks, or 1.96 percent of the current total outstanding shares, resulting in a new equity capital of NT$27.8 billion and a net book value per share of NT$21.2.

Once the world's No. 2 PC maker, Acer reported an after-tax loss of NT$7.63 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013 that included an unexpected NT$1.3 billion write-off of raw materials inventory.

That followed a loss of NT$13.12 billion in the third quarter, driven largely by a write-down in the value of intangible assets that led to the resignations of then-Chairman J.T. Wang (王振堂) and then-CEO Jim Wong (翁建仁) in November.

Acer shares closed up 1.04 percent at NT$19.4 in Taipei Thursday before its quarterly financial announcement.

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