Lenovo Reorganizes, Changes Mobility Leadership

Rick Osterloh is out as head of Motorola, replaced by two executives who will split their duties between the China market and the rest of the world.

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Lenovo is changing the leadership of its mobile device business as part of a larger reorganization within the company.

Rick Osterloh, president of Motorola Mobility, oversaw much of the integration of Motorola into Lenovo after the systems maker bought the mobile device company from Google in 2014, is leaving Lenovo. He will be replaced by two other executives as Lenovo officials take a new approach to the highly competitive mobile device space.

Now Lenovo's Mobile Business Group will be run by co-presidents Xudong Chen and Aymar de Lencquesaing. According to company officials, there are significant differences between the mobile markets in China and the rest of the world, and Lenovo—with headquarters in China—is in a strong position to take advantage of them. Chen will focus on the Chinese large market, while de Lencquesaing—who had been leading Lenovo North America—will push Lenovo's agenda in both emerging and mature markets.

In addition, de Lencquesaing will become chairman and president of Motorola, and the teams that had reported to Osterloh will now report to him.

Lenovo bought Motorola the same year that it bought IBM's x86 server business. Already the world's top PC marker, Lenovo aimed to become a significant player in other areas of computing. In the smartphone market, Lenovo is competing against the likes of Apple, Samsung, Huawei and fast-growing Chinese company Xiaomi. Gartner analysts in February said that in the fourth quarter 2015, Lenovo was the world's fourth-largest smartphone maker.

The company has lost some traction in China. IDC analysts said recently that in 2013 the top three smartphone vendors in the country were a dominant Samsung, followed by Lenovo and Coolpad. However, two years later, the top three were Xiaomi, Huawei Technologies and Apple.

In January, company officials announced it was going to emphasize the Moto and Vibe product names over the Motorola brand.

In another part of the restructuring, the PC Group will become the PC & Smart Device Business Group, expanding its product portfolio to include detachables, tablets, phablets, gaming and smart home products that run Microsoft's Windows and Chrome and Android from Google. The PC market is consolidating, and the new business group will help the company continue to grow share in the market while putting more focus on emerging smart devices, officials said. Gianfranco Lanci will be the group's president and chief operating officer.

In addition, Lenovo's Enterprise Business Group is now the Data Center Group, enabling the company to better address not only the opportunities in the traditional hardware space but also the emerging hyperscale and hyperconverged infrastructure markets. Earlier this month, Lenovo grew its capabilities in the hyperconverged space through a partnership with Juniper Networks.

Longtime executive Gerry Smith is president of the new Data Center Group, while Peter Hortensius, who was Lenovo's CTO, will be both the CTO and head of strategy for the new group.

"In the last year, Lenovo has delivered solid results, the fast integration of Motorola and [IBM's] System x businesses, and a series of innovative product launches across the portfolio," Lenovo Chairman and CEO Yang Yuamqing said in a statement. "Now we must further accelerate our transformation into a customer-centric company."