Jerry Shen, the longtime CEO of Asus, has announced his plans to step down from his role at the Taiwanese electronics maker. His exit is being described as part of “a comprehensive corporate transformation” and the company now plans to adopt a new co-CEO structure. One of the key changes with the exit of Shen is that the company will adopt a massive shift in its mobile strategy going forward.
The company has announced that it will shift its focus in mobile from regular consumers to gamers and power users. In an interview with Business Next, Jonney Shih, Chairman of Asus, described the smartphone business as a “bloody battlefield”. The announcement led to speculation that Asus will make fewer Zenfone models going forward and focus more on ROG-branded smartphones.
In a statement shared with BGR India, Asus has revealed that the company will not stop making Zenfone-branded smartphones. “With regard to the doubts raised by some on the continuation of the Zenfone brand, we confirm that we will continue to develop the ZenFone series, while also aiming to expand the gaming smartphone market. We will focus on perfecting solutions for gamers and power users,” Asus spokesperson said in an official statement.
Shen has been the face of Asus’ product lineup for nearly 11 years now and he oversaw the launch of some of its creative products including the PadFone series, Transformer series, ZenBook series and Zenfone series. Engadget reports that Shen is credited as the main creator of the Eee PC lineup, which kickstarted the netbook race in 2006.
Shen also confirmed that he is off to run a new IoT startup named iFast as chairman and CEO. Despite his departure, he plans to maintain a link with Asus through the Taiwanese company’s 30 percent stake in the new IoT startup. Shen added that he will “devote myself to assisting Asus effectively transition into the AIoT industry.”
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Asus has also confirmed that the vacant CEO rule will be split between PC business lead S.Y. Hsu and global customer service lead Samson Hu, who will take over the new job on January 1, 2019. Asus tried to make a mark with its Zenfone series and is still trying to with new Zenfone Max models in countries like Indonesia and India. But, it has been squeezed to settle for lower margins and smaller sales by Chinese smartphone makers.