MORRISVILLE – Liu Chuanzhi, the visionary who cofounded Lenovo in 1984, is expected to announce his retirement as chairman of the board at Lenovo Holdings – Lenovo’s corporate parent – on Wednesday.
According to reports in Chinese media, Liu will formally disclose his decision after the Hong Kong stock exchange closes that day.
Lenovo shares are traded in Hong Kong.
Chuanzhi, who is 75, is also expected to announce that Zhu Linan, 57, will step down as president of Lenovo Holdings. The new leader will be Ning Hui, the current chief financial officer, the reports say.
Lenovo itself is led by chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing, a longtime colleague of Liu. The company has grown to become a global firm that is the world’s largest PC manufacturer, the leader in supercomputing, and a top competitor among global server sales. The server business unit is based in Research Triangle Park.
Lenovo operates two headquarters, one in Morrisville and the other in Beijing.
Thus far, Lenovo has declined comment other than to say “Everything is subject to the announcement,” according to a Google translation of one Chinese media report.
Liu and a Chinese Academy of Sciences team created Lenovo.
Lenovo’s corporate history notes the humble beginnings:
“With an initial capital outlay of only RMB200,000, (US$25,000) Lenovo’s founding chairman Liu Chuanzhi, together with 10 like-minded colleagues, launches the New Technology Developer Inc. (the predecessor of the Legend Group) funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.”
The company later branded itself Legend. In 2003 it embraced a new brand and name: Lenovo.
Liu and Yang, who had been named CEO in 2001, put together the deal in 2004 that made Lenovo an international company – its acquisition of IBM’s PC business in 2004. After stepping away from Lenovo, he returned in 2009 as board chair for two years before leaving to focus on the corporate parent.
Mary Ma, the senior executive who also helped put together the Lenov-IBM deal, died earlier this year.
The Paper in China notes that Liu was named the “Pioneer of Reform” by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China for his effoers as a “pioneer in the industrialization of science and technology.”