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September 25, 2017

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Stan Shih expresses confidence in his successor at Acer

TAIPEI--Acer Inc. (宏碁股份) Chairman Stan Shih (施振榮) expressed optimism Wednesday that his successor, George Huang (黃少華), will be able to lead the Taiwanese computer maker through a transition period that will turn it into a "hardware plus software plus service" company.

"I'm absolutely confident in Huang as the next chairman of Acer," Shih said at Acer's annual shareholders' meeting.

Shih, 70, said he has held numerous meetings with Huang and Chief Executive Officer Jason Chen (陳俊聖) since returning to Acer in November 2013, with the three agreeing to take action to stabilize the company's operations in the near term and make effective investments to propel long-term growth.

Shih said he stepped down as Acer chairman at a board of directors meeting held later Wednesday, but he will continue to serve as a board director, lead the Transformation Advisory Committee and oversee Acer's cloud strategy. The 65-year-old Huang, a co-founder of the struggling Taiwanese PC maker, has been working with Transformation Advisory Committee members to shape and review Acer's reform initiatives.

Acer's struggles continued in 2013, as consolidated revenue fell 16.2 percent in 2013 to NT$360.13 billion (US$11.96 billion), and it posted a loss per share of NT$7.54.

The company attributed most of the loss to an impairment loss on intangible assets of NT$9.94 billion. Other key factors were an inventory write-off of NT$3.18 billion and workforce reduction charges of NT$1.02 billion.

In November last year, Shih returned to Acer as chairman of the Transformation Advisory Committee and then assumed the company chairmanship to lead Acer through its difficult transition and reposition it for the future.

Acer Eyes more Talent for Cloud

Stan Shih also said Acer plans to hire more people for its make-or-break cloud business as the struggling PC maker seeks to capitalize on the growing cloud technology trend around the world.

Stan Shih said the company returned to profitability in the first quarter by reducing its workforce and cutting costs, but Acer's new Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC) business is growing rapidly and needs more people to sustain the growth.

With most Acer employees specializing in hardware development, the company has decided to recruit more sales executives, sales specialists and application engineers to help Acer expand its cloud business into new fields like health care and the automobile and telecom sectors, Shih said.

"We will welcome all kinds of talented workers in the cloud computing area to join Acer," he said at the company's annual shareholders meeting, adding that Acer wants to initially recruit about 100 people from Taiwan and Silicon Valley in the United States.

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