Lenovo appoints ex-McKinsey executive Gordon Orr to board as group diversifies from PCs to mobile and enterprise

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 September, 2015, 3:56pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 September, 2015, 3:56pm

Buffeted by new challenges, Chinese technology giant Lenovo Group is bolstering its board with the addition of Gordon Orr, the former Asia chairman at global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, as a non-executive director.

“Gordon’s experiences and relationships -- having advised many of the world’s largest companies, across technology and China – will prove invaluable to Lenovo," company chairman and chief executive Yang Yuanqing said on Friday.

READ MORE: China’s Lenovo may reorganise mobile operations to gain edge over Xiaomi, other smartphone rivals

The 53-year-old Orr, who currently also serves as a non-executive director at Hong Kong-listed conglomerate Swire Pacific, retired from McKinsey last month.

He started work for McKinsey in 1986 and held a broad range of senior positions until his retirement as the firm's Shanghai-based chairman for Asia. 

He was responsible for establishing McKinsey's China practice, with the opening of offices in Shanghai and Beijing in 1993 and 1995, respectively.

The Oxford and Harvard-educated Orr also served on McKinsey's global shareholder board from 2003 until his retirement.

His appointment at Lenovo further deepens the diversity at its board, which has 11 directors hailing from the United States, China, Britain and Japan. 

These included Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang and Noboyuki Idei, the former chairman and group chief executive at Sony.

"Gordon joins Lenovo’s board at a time when we are navigating new challenges. We are transforming our business not only in PCs, but also newer areas of mobile and enterprise," Yang said.

Lenovo, the world's largest supplier of personal computers, is now in the middle of a sweeping restructuring plan that will see 3,200 employees being laid off by the end of this month. That equates to about a 5 per cent reduction of its total 60,000 staff.

The company is facing a significant slump in the global personal computer and tablet markets, as well as slowing economic growth in its home market. 

Competition in the smartphone industry has also intensified, with Chinese-brand suppliers as its toughest rivals.

Yang, however, remains unfazed by current conditions. He expected Lenovo to target a 30 per cent global share in personal computer shipments and a turnaround in its smartphone business in two to three quarters.