MORRISVILLE – Mary Ma, a former senior executive with Lenovo and a leading private equity investor in China, has died.

Her formal name was Ma Xuezheng. She was an Independent Non-executive Director of  Lenovo, the company said in a statmeent.

Lenovo’s CEO, board pay tribute to former executive Mary Ma

Ma joined Lenovo in 1990 and was one of the executives who led the effort to acquire IBM’s personal computing business in 2005. Prior to joining Lenovo she was “an interpreter to high-level government officials, including Deng Xiaoping,” Chinese news site CX Tech noted. Deng is the Chinese leader acknowledged as the power behind the country’s business transformation.

Also in 2005, Forbes magazine named her as one of the most powerful women in business.

“Ma [was] responsible for Lenovo’s finance, treasury and legal affairs. She received a bachelor’s degree from Capital Normal University in 1976, and with more than 27 years in financial and executive management, she is one of China’s highest-ranking female executives,” Forbes noted at the time.

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That IBM deal ultimatley led to the establishment of Lenovo’s second headquarters in Morrisville and set the stage for Lenovo’s growth into a multinational tech powerhouse. The IBM PC business was based in the Triangle.

Ma retired from Lenovo in 2007.

“Mary leaves us with a tremendous legacy. For 17 years, she has made countless contributions to Lenovo’s success, and has played an important role in our transformation into one of the world’s largest PC manufacturers,” said Chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing when she stepped down.

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“I have no doubt that her considerable expertise, unwavering commitment to excellence, and focus on long-term shareholder value will be invaluable as we execute our strategic plan and move the company forward.”

Ma joined TPG, a Chinese private equity firm in 2007 .

At TPG, Ma served partner and managing director.

TPG was one of the financers of Lenovo’s $1.75 billion deal with IBM.

In 2011 co-founded another firm, Boyu, which has been an investor in ecommerce giant Alibaba, CX Tech noted.

Lenovo, which was launched in China, maintains its other headquarters in Beijing.

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