Liu Chuanzhi, founder of China's leading computer maker Lenovo Group, has been reinstated as company chairman, the group announced Thursday after revealing a fourth quarter loss of 97 million U.S. dollars.
A company statement said Liu, a non-executive director, has been appointed as non-executive chairman.
The announcement said he would also serve as chairman of both the strategy and governance committees.
Liu, who had been an executive director from 1994 and chairman until he became a non-executive director in April 2005, said he was "pleased to return to my role as chairman."
"At this important time, we want to pay particular attention to our China business as it represents the foundation of our global business and growth strategy," he said.
Liu told one of China's major portal websites, Sina.com, an hour after the announcement, that he was "duty-bound" to take charge.
"Lenovo is my life," the 65-year-old said.
He said the global financial downturn was expected to deal a heavy blow to Lenovo although the company is generally in good shape.
"We are expecting faster development in the emerging markets, including countries like China, India, Russia and Brazil. Meanwhile we will defend U.S. and European markets."
In an on-line survey by Sina, more than 53 percent of the 4,200 voters said they were optimistic about Liu's reinstatement and almost 29 percent said they are pessimistic.
The company statement said William Amelio had resigned as an executive director, president and chief executive officer, while senior vice president Rory Read takes over as president and chief operating officer.
The statement said Yang Yuanqing, who served as chief executive officer from 2001 to 2004, would return to the role.
Yang promised changes to the company's marketing and organization to make it more efficient and competitive.
"In the past quarter, same as many other companies, Lenovo was deeply impacted by the global economic turmoil," said Yang.
"We have taken actions to ensure that in an uncertain economy, our business operates as efficiently and effectively as possible, and continues to grow in the future."
Ye Lei, chief hardware analyst with the U.S. market research house Gartner, said since 2009 was a year of great importance for Lenovo, the company had been ready to defend itself.
"The board changes are closely related to the financial reports of the quarter which exerted pressure on the company," he said.
Qi Dongfeng, ex-president of the Beijing-based PC maker Founder Technology, said the duo of Liu and Yang is expected to further enhance Lenovo's cohesion and execution capacity.
"They will make the best combination among the high-ranking executives in the company," he said. "My intuition tells me that the board change is a correct one."
Tian Shuoning, who serves as independent director of Lenovo, said the change is expected to enhance the competitive edge of Lenovo's core business in China.
Lenovo's stock on the Hong Kong stock market ended down 2.67 percent on Thursday.
The board changes coincided with the company's undesirable performance.
According to the third fiscal quarter financial report, Lenovo's worldwide PC sales declined 5 percent year on year, due to a sustained decrease in worldwide commercial PC sales particularly at the high end, and a 7-percent decline in the China PC market.
Consolidated sales for the quarter from continuing operations (excluding divested businesses) fell 20 percent year on year to 3.59 billion dollars.
Its gross profit decreased 48 percent, with gross margin at 9.8 percent.
Lenovo, the world's fourth largest personal computer manufacturer, announced in January it would cut 2,500 jobs, about 11 percent of its global workforce.
(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2009)