Lenovo's CEO resigns as company posts $97 million loss

Lenovo Group blamed a slowdown in Chinese demand for computers for a US$97 million loss and sharp drop in sales during the last quarter of 2008.

Lenovo Group President and CEO William Amelio resigned Wednesday, after the company posted a US$97 million loss amid a sharp drop in sales during the last quarter of 2008.

Lenovo Chairman Yang Yuanqing will replace Amelio, the company said in a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Lenovo blamed its financial loss on weak Chinese demand for PCs.

"The Group's results were impacted principally by slowdown of the Chinese PC market in which it has significant market share; and demand reduction in the worldwide commercial PC segment," the company said in a separate filing.

The company reported a quarterly loss of US$97 million on revenue of US$3.6 billion. By comparison, Lenovo reported a profit of US$173 million on revenue of US$4.5 billion in the same time period a year earlier. That represents a 20 percent decline in revenue.

The sharpest decline came from Asia-Pacific, excluding China, where Lenovo saw unit shipments fall by 23 percent. "Shipments in India in particular were scaled back as the economic crisis impacted commercial and high-end accounts," the company said.

Other regions didn't fare much better. Shipments in China, where Lenovo is especially strong, fell 7 percent, while shipments in the Americas and Europe, including the Middle East and Africa, fell 6 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

The decline in PC shipments across Asia is largely in line with numbers reported last month by market researcher IDC. The company said fourth-quarter PC shipments in Asia fell short of expectations, and cited a shortfall in expected demand for PCs from Chinese consumers as a primary cause.

Looking ahead, Lenovo said it expects 2009 to be a difficult year.

"The Group expects the next several quarters will remain very challenging for Lenovo and the rest of the PC industry," the filing said.

Lenovo noted that market trends are shifting towards "entry-level" PCs, and said it would strengthen its focus on that part of the market.

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