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Lenovo names new North America chief

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Lenovo thinks so highly of Gerry Smith that it promoted him twice in a little more than a month.

The fast-growing PC maker announced that Smith, who most recently was senior vice president of global operations, has been named president of the company's North American operations.

It was just last month that Smith, 49, was promoted to the global operations post, which encompasses the company's worldwide supply chain, including manufacturing, as well as services such as technical support and warranties. He previously was senior vice president of global supply chain, a position he had held since joining Lenovo in 2006.

Smith's latest promotion makes him the successor to David Schmoock, who has departed the company to take a position at rival PC company Dell, said Lenovo spokeswoman Milanka Muecke. She referred inquiries about Schmoock's new job to Dell, where officials couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Within 24 hours of being notified that Schmoock was leaving the company, the decision was made to promote Smith again, said Muecke, who cited the company's “good succession planning.”

In his new role as head of North American operations, Smith reports directly to Yuanqing Yang, the company's chairman and CEO, and will oversee day-to-day operations in North America.

Lenovo is based in China but has an executive headquarters in Morrisville that employs about 2,000 workers. It has been the fastest-growing major producer of PCs for 12 consecutive quarters and its worldwide market share has risen sharply, from No. 7 four years ago to No. 2 or No. 1, depending on which research firm is doing the counting.

In announcing Smith's promotion, the company credited him with leading “a dramatic transformation of the company's supply chain operations, significantly reducing costs, while improving delivery performance” and maintaining quality.
“Gerry is one of our strongest and most proven leaders who has helped Lenovo establish the best supply chain in our industry,” Yang said in a statement.

Smith currently lives in Singapore and hasn't yet decided whether he will relocate.
“This happened so quickly,” Muecke said.

Smith, who wasn't available for comment, will continue to oversee global operations as well until a successor is names.

“He has a really strong leadership team under him that is obviously running day-to-day” operations, Muecke said.

Before joining Lenovo, Smith was vice president and general manager of Dell's display business. He has a bachelor's degree in finance and marketing from Pacific Lutheran University in Washington.

Schmoock also joined Lenovo in 2006 and had been president of North American operations since July 2010. His new position with Dell will be his second stint with the company. Before joining Lenovo he was an executive at Dell for about a decade.

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About the blogger

David Ranii has been a business reporter at The News & Observer since 1993. Over the years he has covered information technology, banking, insurance, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, media businesses and real estate. Contact him at 919-829-4877 or e-mail him.