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Lenovo picks former Acer CEO Lanci to head Europe

By Tarmo Virki

(Reuters) - Former Acer <2353.TW> Chief Executive Gianfranco Lanci was appointed on Monday as chief of Lenovo's <0992.HK> operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and said he aims to break into the top three in the region by next year.

Lanci said in a statement he sees the rise of tablet computers and other gadgets such as thin Ultrabooks, creating many new opportunities for Lenovo.

"EMEA is a strategically critical market for us," Lanci said, adding that the company would focus on keeping its position in enterprise sales, while significantly expanding consumer and smaller business sales in the region.

Lenovo, the fastest growing PC vendor among the top five in the region, had an 8.2 percent market share in the fourth quarter last year, tracking Hewlett-Packard , Acer, Asus <2357.TW> and Dell , according to Gartner.

"Lenovo needs to strengthen its consumer brand in order to overtake Dell and Asus in EMEA," said Thomas Evans, analyst at Canalys.

"Lanci taking the helm of the EMEA organization is a smart move. He brings a wealth of experience and has strong relationships with the sales channel in the region," he said.

Lanci left Acer abruptly at the end of March last year after a disagreement with other board members over the strategy needed to counter the runaway success of the tablet market, which has cannibalized Acer's profits.

He joined Lenovo as a consultant late last year, a move Acer has filed a lawsuit against, saying it breached a non-compete clause in an agreement covering his departure from the company in 2011.

(Reporting By Tarmo Virki; Editing by Andrew Callus)

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