ThinkPad: The Man Bridging Old Mngmt And New Owners

(Caption – CEO Steve Ward, left, and Chairman Yuanqing Yang are in charge of the combined company.)
Lenovo is now the proud owner of formerly IBM, ThinkPad and ThinkCentre line of computers. There is a LOT of work to do to convince people that ThinkPads are still good and deal with the cultural-political issues in the mind of consumers who now will be buying from a Chinese company and the internal merging of two different cultures as well.
Stephen Ward is the new CEO of Lenovo and must make it all happen.
USA Today has a good overview of the work ahead for Mr. Ward and writes Stephen Ward will save the ThinkPad ¬? or be responsible for its demise.
The longtime IBM executive has spent decades tinkering with the ubiquitous black laptop, which might be the best-known personal computer on earth.
But Ward’s secure career as “Mr. ThinkPad” took an unusual turn two months ago. IBM sold its PC division to a Chinese company, Lenovo, for $1.25 billion. As part of the deal, Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang rose to chairman, making room for Ward to become CEO.
Now, Ward must convince the world the ThinkPad laptop and ThinkCentre desktop are just as good coming from a controversial, newly formed company partly owned by China’s Communist government. He must make the ThinkPad profitable: The division lost $149 million in its last month with IBM. And he must merge two very different companies that operate on opposite sides of the globe, speak different languages and cater to very different customers.
The world will be watching. After China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, U.S. companies such as General Electric, Cigna and Microsoft set up joint ventures there. Now, Chinese firms are starting to make similar investments in the United States. The appeal: a large, wealthy customer base and management ranks with plenty of capitalist savvy.
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