Founder-CEO Succession at Acer

Posted: 14 Feb 2012

See all articles by Noam Wasserman

Noam Wasserman

University of Southern California - Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

Michael Shih-ta Chen

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Keith Chi-ho Wong

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Date Written: January 11, 2011

Abstract

Stan Shih, founder-CEO of Acer, Inc., had proactively chosen and transitioned the "perfect" successor as CEO, but was now faced with major problems. Over the last two years, his heir apparent, Leonard Liu, had made the changes he had been hired to make, including revamping the organization structure and instilling a new corporate culture that emphasized accountability. However, such changes had caused numerous clashes between him and other co-founders of the company, in particular, Shih's wife, Carolyn. Liu had now suggested that "Carolyn should retire into her kitchen." Faced with office infighting and increasing clashes between the markedly different Western and Chinese styles of management, Shih needed Liu to manage the increasing complexity of global competition. However, Shih was now wondering if he had made the right decision to appoint Liu as his successor.

Learning Objective: Examine the full life cycle of a founder's involvement in his startup.

Suggested Citation

Wasserman, Noam and Chen, Michael Shih-ta and Wong, Keith Chi-ho, Founder-CEO Succession at Acer (January 11, 2011). Harvard Business School Entrepreneurial Management Case No. 811-062. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2005140

Noam Wasserman (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies ( email )

United States

Michael Shih-ta Chen

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Keith Chi-ho Wong

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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