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Acer bags its 4th – yes, 4th – UK boss in just 20 months

Gavin Parish quits to return to HP. Please welcome Preben Fjeld, boys and girls

The revolving door at Acer is spinning furiously as the company confirmed it has appointed Preben Fjeld as its fourth UK MD in 20 months.

Fjeld, who will continue to run Acer Norway, replaces Gavin Parish after he quit the business to rejoin HP’s PC and print division.

A spokesman at Acer sent us a minimalist statement:

“Gavin Parrish has left the business and has been replaced as UK country manager by Preben Fjeld. Preben will also continue to be country manager for Acer Norway.”

Parish was only crowned as UK big boss in January - prior to this he was consumer and business unit director at Acer. Sources tell us he was doing a decent job, running a business that is markedly improving of late.

Acer UK, which sells only via channel types, saw notebook and tablet revenues generated by distributors decline 14 per cent in 2014 in a market that fell 2.6 per cent, according to data collated by Context.

The company staged a recovery late in the year in Q4 when revenues went up 37 per cent - the market declined eight per cent. Momentum continued in Q1 when Parish grabbed the controls, as sales climbed 21 per cent in a market that grew 2.1 per cent on average.

This is progress for Acer, which broke into profit again at group level in 2014 after three years of consecutive losses.

Acer was hurt by collapsing demand for consumer PCs as shoppers turned to tabs, and it couldn’t turns off the supply chain taps quickly enough, leaving it with a stocking problem that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to write off.

These days, distributors report no problems with ageing inventory and reckon the company runs a cleaner model.

Preben’s appointment is a pat on the back for head of channel sales Richard Mundy, who will now effectively run the UK operation on a daily basis.

Prior to Parish, Marco Greico Wang Andresen ran Acer’s Brit ops. He took over from company veteran Neil Marshall, who was brought on board to steady the ship in 2011.

Parrish is heading back to HP’s PC and print division, which from November will split from the rest of the organisation to form HP Inc. The remainder of HP will become Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

George Brasher, HP UK and Ireland veep and GM for the Printing and Personal Systems, and the man that will lead HP Inc locally, confirmed the appointment of Parrish as category director.

“Gavin is a seasoned and respected category leader and we look forward to him leading our category business at what is an exciting time for HP,” he said in a statement. ®


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