Moving along

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 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.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

16 thoughts on “Moving along”

  1. You make me cry. I’ll miss you and Lenovo will be a little emptier on Monday. Thank goodness for the blog so I can continue to follow the Churbuckian musings. And clam asses.

  2. Following you to the next step with slippery touchpad!

    (My touchpad probably wouldn’t be so slippery if I didn’t eat and surf at the same time…)

  3. Good luck with your future endeavors David! And hopefully your next career won’t involve sashimi horse (uma). 😉

  4. Dave, Not sure what to say here. There are so many things you did for Lenovo, and for me, that matter. I do especially want to thank you prodding me into becoming Lenovo’s first blogger. It has been quite a ride. I owe a lot to you and your digital wisdom. Simply stated…you’re the best. All the best to you. David

  5. Heck, it was a true pleasure interviewing for you this past Spring. While it didn’t work out, you and a few others inspired me to switch gears and follow my passion to get into the interactive media game.

    So thanks, and good luck to you. I’m excited for you because I know whatever it is, it’s gonna rock.

  6. DC – you are a great example of the type of person God intended us to be, touching people’s lives with every encounter. I’m raising my cyberspace glass to a lifetime of friendship.

  7. Congrats on your graduation from Lenovo! They’re losing someone special. Look forward to seeing what you do next. Hopefully a late August sail up to Maine.

  8. David,

    Thanks for helping me spark a new career path in social, the sage advice to start blogging (on wordpress of course), and for all the support along the way. Thanks for helping us take prudent risks, and for always having our back when we took on those tough situations.

    Churbuck dot com. Who would have believed that sailing, clamming, and web strategy go together so well?


  9. I’ve enjoyed reading about your outstanding work with Lenovo, and the 52 churches, but I’m really looking forward to the next chapter. Congratulations.

  10. David, it was a pleasure working with you on Skylight. You helped a left-brained wonk like me understand how to communicate the exciting experience of the product to the masses. Your experience and wit will be missed here… looking forward to seeing what you tackle next .. all the best..

  11. Dave, its been a privilege working with you… greatly appreciate your efforts to help us think beyond our comfort zones, your internal and external evangelism of new opportunities, your wonderful stories of the early PC industry, and your unparalleled ability to inject crippling humor into any subject… I think now would be a perfect time for you to produce that “Small Businessman” video… time to give Verne a call 😉

  12. It was a pleasure working with you and I can only imagine the things you’ll do soon. May our paths cross again, as I’m certain they will.

  13. Reading the comments from your Lenovo colleagues reminds me of the sadness those of us at felt when you announced you were going to be rowing in different waters. Yours is the gift to lead, to inspire and to laugh. Good luck on the next adventure. In the words of Tennyson:
    Come, my friends,
    ’Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
    Push off, and sitting well in order smite
    The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
    To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
    Of all the western stars, until I die.
    It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
    It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
    And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
    Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
    One equal temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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