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Acer CEO Jason Chen to become chairman from June

Jason Chen, a former executive of TSMC, joined Acer in 2014.

TAIPEI -- Stan Shih, co-founder of Taiwanese PC-maker Acer, on Wednesday said the current President and CEO Jason Chen would take the position of chairman from June 2017.

"Jason would be best candidate to take over the company and be the next leader of Acer," said Shih, also a major shareholder of the Taiwanese company. "I hope Jason could perceive Acer as his own company and not take the position only as a job or simply be just another professional executive."

In Taiwan, a chairman, rather than the chief executive, is the most powerful person in a company. Chen, formerly senior vice-president of worldwide sales and marketing at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest contract chipmaker, joined Acer at the beginning of 2014 and managed to turn around the embattled company in less than a year.

Acer Co-founder Stan Shih said the company's current CEO Jason Chen is the best candidate to take over as chairman (Photo by Cheng Ting-Fang)

Before 2014, Acer suffered heavy losses for three years, losing as much as 20.5 billion New Taiwan dollars ($647 million) in 2013. Shih's predecessor, the company's former Chairmain and Chief Executive J.T. Wang, resigned in late 2013 following the worst-ever loss in the company's history.

Once an industry leader, Acer had been hit hard by a severe slump in the global PC market, and its failure to keep pace with the rise of mobile technology in recent years.

For the second quarter ended June, Acer shipped 4.41 million PC units, trailing Lenovo Group, HP, Dell, Asustek Computer and Apple Inc., according to research company Gartner. Overall PC shipments are expected to decline 7.3% in 2016, according to another research company IDC.

For the first half of 2016, Acer reported that net profit more than doubled to NT$585 million from a year ago. But revenue fell 12.2% to NT$112.47 billion, due to strong headwinds in the PC business.

After news of Chen's appointment, market observers speculated that Shih would eventually choose his elder son Maverick Shih, current head of Acer's new business of cloud services and smart devices, to take over his computing empire.

Shih, however, said his son is not yet qualified enough to even sit on the board.

"Maverick has no privilege in the company and he's still got whole a lot to learn before I would hand my seat on Acer's board to him some day in the future," said Shih.

Acer's relentless endeavor in recent years to turn to cloud services, enterprise software and connected devices has not yet had any substantial impact on the company's numbers as its core PC business still accounted for more than 70% of the total revenue of NT$263.77 billion for 2015.

Shares of Acer closed 0.69% lower at NT$14.35 on Wednesday. They have gained more than 18% so far this year.

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