Today I’m leaving Lenovo after four and half years as the vice-president of global digital marketing. I had set myself a two-year timer for the job when I joined in January of 2006, planning on moving on to the next big thing following the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. But the Great Recession intervened in the fall of 2008 and for six months I had a very enjoyable career shift into the development of a fascinating cloud PC called the Skylight.
After the CMO — Deepak Advani — who hired me departed in the winter of 2009 and the company restructured itself to weather the recession by focusing on its China base and emerging markets, I found myself in a marketing organization scaling back from the halycon days leading up to the Olympics. My focus on social media shifted to the formation of a digital marketing organization focused on delivering sales, and for the last six months I’ve been pushing string inside of the organization to re-focus Lenovo.com and deliver some value to a company in the midst of a profound transition to a new world of handheld mobile internet devices, slates, phones, etc.. This past spring a new CMO was brought in from HP to rebuild the brand.
All combined to make it the right time to move on.
What’s next? The cliche that I have irons in the fire is an understatement and I have a book or two I should be writing, I’m looking at cloud services, software and Web 2.0. I miss media, fraught with change as it is, but I won’t be rushing back into the hardscrabble margins of the PC hardware business.
Thanks go out to:
- Deepak Advani, the Chief Marketing Officer who hired me in the fall of 2005 and gave me a huge amount of freedom to launch Lenovo’s corporate blogging program, transform web marketing, and in general be as creative as possible.
- Bill Amelio, Lenovo’s former CEO, for emphasizing the new world order of conversational marketing, and seeing the value of a brand that listens and responds to its customers.
- Glen Gilbert, Craig Merrigan, David Hill for their amazing creativity and willingness to take risks.
- Gary Milner for being one of the smartest digital marketers I have ever had the pleasure of working with.
- Ajit Sivadasan for being a partner in web marketing and an amazing force of nature unto himself.
- Mark Hopkins, Nano Serwich, Matt Kohut for having a passion for blogging, social media and doing the right thing for the customer and the company.
- Peter Hortensius, Fran O’Sullivan, Peter Gaucher, and Ninis Samuel for giving me the chance to watch a fascinating hardware development project up close.
- Lenovo’s China team. Alice Li, Leon Xie, Elijah Degan, Cissy Yang and countless others for permitting me a glimpse into the most dynamic market in the history of the world.
- Andrew Flanagan, Mark McNeilly, Jeff Shafer, Ray Gorman, Lisa Sonntag, Kevin Beck and all the great people in Lenovo marketing.
- Steve Starkey — for a shared love of the Red Sox and for his friendship, advice, and counsel.
- And my team: Vivian Young, Maureen Ahmad, Regina Leonard, Nano, Gavin — Esteban Panzeri (who left in February). We did some great things together.
Thanks to all for the well wishes.