Gerry Smith is still settling in to his new job as president of North America for Lenovo, but he already knows what his goals are for the job and the plan for achieving those.
The six-year Lenovo veteran and top manager for its supply chain, also says he’s ready for the job.
“I’m absolutely ready,” Smith said cheerfully and confidently about his new role, which he assumed on Nov. 26. “I have been in charge of the largest organization within Lenovo. It’s global in its breadth. The new role is different, but I definitely am excited. And the North American team is one of the best teams in the country.”
The goal: To rise from No. 4 to No. 1 in PC sales across the continent.
The strategy: To follow the plan put in place by his predecessor and friend, David Schmoock, who left Lenovo last month for a still unannounced position at Lenovo rival Dell. Both men are former football players, both were long-time executives at Dell, and both were recruited to Lenovo by former Lenovo CEO William Amelio, who also worked at Dell.
Reflecting his competitive spirit in terms of self-confidence and confidence in his team, Smith is aiming for nothing less than a market place victory.
“I’m not going to make any predictions about when we will be No. 1 or No. 2 or No. 3,” Smith said in an interview Tuesday afternoon, “but I am absolutely determined that we will be No. 1 in time.”
To get there, Smith said Lenovo will continue to pursue sales aggressively, expand brand and consumer programs, roll out a continuing stream of new products and services. “We’re not deviating from direction at all,” he explained.
One of Top Lenovo Managers
Smith also is in a powerful position within the management ranks of the world’s No. 1 or 2 PC manufacturer, depending on which statistics one believes.
As head of global supply chain for Lenovo, he is a member of Lenovo’s recently appointed Executive Committee. The group works directly with Lenovo Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Yang Yuanqing. Smith will keep the supply chain job until April 1 and even after that remains a part of the committee, which shapes corporate policy and direction.
“It is very good for North America to have an Executive Committee member,” Smith said.
Schmoock, who has been and continues to be a “close, personal friend” of Smith and like Smith is a “huge San Francisco 49er fan,” was not an Executive Committee member.
“David would bring his plans to the Executive Committee and we would discuss them,” Smith said.
Yang heartily endorsed Smith when the announcement in management was announced.
“Gerry is one of our strongest and most proven leaders, who has helped Lenovo establish the best supply chain in our industry,” said Yang. “Lenovo is outgrowing the market and our competitors in North America, and we are rising in the ranks here just as we are globally. I am confident this momentum will continue under Gerry’s leadership. Gerry will bring the same level of precision, discipline, focus and long term thinking to North America role, as he has done in leading the worldwide operations across the company.”
Same Game Plan
Schmoock was quite proud of an initiative he pushed through that led to Lenovo’s decision to begin PC manufacturing in North America at a plant in the Triad and also expand Lenovo’s range of PC and server support. He also advocated strongly Lenovo’s expanded presence in the consumer market, with retail partners and outlets increasing 10 fold to some 4,000 before his departure. Schmoock also was a big advocate for Lenovo’s emerging play in tablets with its new Yoga, Twist and forthcoming ThinkPad devices.
Smith plans to follow that game plan.
The new “coach” has been in extensive meetings already with the rest of North American management at Lenovo’s global executive headquarters in Morrisville. He is “not making any changes” in the group or strategy that has helped Lenovo outperform the market in U.S. PC sales for nine consecutive quarters, something Lenovo has done globally for 14 straight quarters as it has risen to a virtual tie or slight lead over HP in the quarter ending Oct. 30.
However, Lenovo is not letting up in its drive to expand beyond reliance on PCs. While smartphones are not on the agenda for North America as in China where Lenovo is heading toward No. 1, American and Canadian businesses and consumers will be hearing more about Lenovo in other arreas.
Said Smith: “We will aggressively enter the tablet market. Some of our most important accounts are looking at tablets, and we are excited.”
Gerry Smith’s Bio from Lenovo:
Gerry Smith joined the Lenovo Group in August 2006 as senior vice president, global supply chain, and is responsible for end-to-end supply chain management encompassing order management, supply/demand planning, procurement, manufacturing and logistics. He has established a sustainable management structure with unyielding attention to detail that has resulted in a more agile and effective supply chain. Under his leadership, the supply chain has increased customer satisfaction and improved serviceability results, while simultaneously reducing end-to-end and materials costs. For his accomplishments, Mr. Smith earned 2009 Supply Chain Executive of the Year award at the SCM Logistics World 2009 conference. At the same time, Lenovo won the 2009 Supply Chain Excellence award that applauds innovation and superior execution in supply chain management.
Before joining Lenovo, Mr. Smith was vice president and general manager of the display line of business for Dell, Inc. In that role, he was responsible for all development, procurement and operations worldwide. Concurrently, he led the start-up of the Singapore Design Centre and managed its integrated global supply chain. Prior to that, he was vice president of the Worldwide Peripherals Development and Procurement Group, where he helped define and operate the company’s industry-leading global supply chain. Mr. Smith also served in numerous other management assignments at Dell, including: vice president and general manager of the Inspiron notebook division; director of peripheral development; director of storage procurement; and several marketing assignments.
From 1987 to 1993, Mr. Smith worked at Definicon, where he managed sales, marketing, procurement and operations for this technology start-up. Prior to Definicon, he worked as a financial analyst with EDS.
Mr. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing from Pacific Lutheran University. He is a member of the SCM World Speaker Faculty, comprised of world’s leading academics and supply chain industry experts.
[LENOVO ARCHIVE: Check out seven years of Lenovo stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]