December 6, 2011

Acer hires an ace strategist - Harish Kohli

It certainly is a challenging time ahead of Harish Kohli, the newly-appointed managing director of Acer India. While the Taiwanese PC manufacturer has slipped to the number-four position in the third quarter of 2011 from number two, the dual problems of a depreciating rupee and scarcity of hard disk drives has forced the company to increase its prices last month.

But Kohli who has been with Acer India even before the Indian subsidiary was incorporated in September 1999, does not seem to be too concerned. Because, what this Delhi university chemistry graduate’s 29 odd years of association with the IT (both software and hardware) industry has taught him is this – numbers and market shares are transient in nature.

Kohli remembers the days in early 2000 when he used to tell his bosses in Taiwan that there is one Indian company in the list of top 10 PC manufacturers. Then, he recalls a time when Acer went on to the number three, and then the number two position. “And now, we are number four. But the gap between number two, three and four players is so small that if we are able to execute a small deal in one quarter, that will change the game,” says an optimistic Kohli.

As per the Gartner number for Q3 of 2011, Acer with a market share of 10.8 per cent in the Indian PC industry is just 1.3 per cent lower than Lenovo. The second largest player, HP, had a market share of 13.3 per cent whereas the market leader Dell had a share of 15 per cent.

Does he still aspire to become the number one player in the market? “Our thought process on this had been very clear. If we are able to build a sustainable organisation with the right reach, there is no reason why we will not be a consistent number one player. I would like to be number one in the overall market (including desktop and notebook) sometime in 2012,” says Kohli, a sports enthusiast who likes to watch cricket and football in his spare time.

Kohli who was the chief marketing officer of Acer before being elevated as the MD started his professional career with Fedders Lloyd in 1982. He also likes to play table tennis and read management books when not at work.

Courtesy: Business Standard

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