Acer rewards shareholders, shafts empolyees

Taiwanese PC maker Acer has announced that its shareholders have decided to hand themselves a cash dividend of NT$3.6 per share while cutting the pot set aside for employee bonuses for 2010 by 40 per cent.

The company, which was nearing its long-term goal of becoming the world's 'Number One' PC company suddenly saw its dream evaporate as the world moved on, Apple decided the PC of tomorrow should be flat and proddable and pesky consumers decided that the Internet in your pocket is preferable to the one on your desk.

The most obvious victim of Acer's mis-step was its CEO Gianfranco Lanci who was ousted in March, subsequently claiming that Acer was seeking to re-Taiwanese itself.

Acer's shareholders have also elected a new board of directors and supervisors, drafting in Sir Julian Horn-Smith, a founding member of Vodafone Group and Dr FC Tseng, a co-founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

In a statement today, Acer said it "expects to benefit from the knowledge and experience of Dr Tseng and Sir Julian, who are both globally distinguished talents," adding. "Their contribution from an independent standpoint to the company strategy, along with the Board, will create a strong and well-rounded team to lead the corporation forward and enhance corporate governance."

The employee bonus will be cut by NT$1.5 billion to NT$900 million, the firm said today, pointing out that board members also volunteered to cut their own remuneration in half. They'll console themselves with the cash dividend of NT$3.6 per share, which remains unchanged.

Acer's seven-member board is now as follows: JT Wang, Stan Shih, Hung Rouan Investment Corp, Philip Peng representing Smart Capital Corp, Hsin-I Lin (former chairman of Industrial Technology Research Institute), Dr FC Tseng, and Sir Julian Horn-Smith. The supervisors are Carolyn Yeh and George Huang.