Computer maker Lenovo Group was mainly founded in a dusty, two-room Beijing guardhouse in 1984. At Present, it’s the biggest PC maker in the world and a wealth 500 frontrunner in smart associated devices with employees in more than 60 countries. But the introductory innovative and ambitious spirit is still present in the company fashion today. That convert more than clear for Eric Mok when he became the firm’s global company secretary in 2005. Just a few months ago, Lenovo had acquired IBM’s famed Personal Computer Division (PCD) in a $1.25 billion deal. This became the begining shot for the company’s primitive and sometimes claim transformation from a local Chinese to a rightly global corporation.

Why did the company make that decision?

‘We had a very strong resolve to become a global company and to contend with global players. In addition to making changes in the work and organisation, the company required to keep up with the best collective governance practices in the global market. Using English as a intermidate of communication would help to appeal to well-qualified human to the board and would regularly make communication with the nature better.’

What’s your approach to sustainability?

‘Our access to sustainability echo our unique heritage having roots in both East and West. For the panel of directors and senior administration corporate social responsibility (CSR) is always high on the timetable. We have a team of people alive solely on these issues, and the head of the CSR team is our leading Vice-President and Chief automation Officer.

It would be interesting to hear more about Lenovo’s transition from a domestic Mainland Chinese firm to a multinational corporation – can you tell us about that experience?

‘At the time of the IBM PCD procurement, Lenovo was the ninth biggest PC company in the world and was essentially a Chinese company with very limited away business. After the acquisition we abruptly doubled the number of our employees, with many new people expected from IBM in the US.

Before, all seven board supervisior were Chinese – the composition was player simple. Afterwards, we had five US directors accomapny the board. We had some American equity funds provide in our business and they nominated US directors to sit on our board.

How did this affect the board dynamics?

‘The language was a big objection. At the time, not all of our Chinese directors could speak fluent English. The company contrived a decision to use English as the medium of communication in board meetings.’

You mention the need for the company to keep up with the best corporate governance practices – how has Lenovo and its founder and directors adapted to global corporate governance regulations and expectations via their Hong Kong listing and having international stakeholders?

‘Looking into past, it sound to me it was a natural development. As I quoted, after the acquisition of the IBM PCD, the company had a heavy determination to become a global corporation. We knew that this imply safe keeping up with the best corporate governance form in the global market. With this understanding, mager and management have a high prospect of our corporate governance proceeding and this has made it rather easy to adapt to the changes we needed to make in these areas.’

Does the current announcement slot cause problems for companies disclosing important events in other time zones?

‘Yes and we’ve indeed talked informally about this issue with the stock exchange. Currently, the broadcast time in the morning discussion is only 6:00am–8:30am. This is naturally set for Hong Kong time but many group in Hong Kong enter into purchase in the US.

Lenovo is in an extremely fast-moving industry – has the company been able to retain its initial entrepreneurial spirit?

‘We are still very hungry, both in terms of telecommunication and business. The IT industry is shifting very fast and we have to stay hungry for new creativ technology. We are also keen to enter into new markets. Nowadays, we have employees in more than 60 countries and are considering to develop business in more countries, especially developing markets.

It’s very great to keep up this spirit. It’s been 10 years since the addition of IBM PCD and we are quite great of what we have polished during this decade. Our share of the global PC market has risen from 2% to 21%, our depature has risen from US$3 billion to US$46 billion and we have gone from auction only PCs to being the world’s third biggest tablet maker. We’ve also become a universal Fortune 500 company.

What was your role as the company secretary in these acquisitions?

‘For the Motorola acquisition, our team engage in the transaction mainly in terms of the confirmation process and ensuring compliance with the Hong Kong classify rules and securities regulations. We also play in the final completion preparations. Due to the sense of the transaction, we stayed awake over the night to await the trace of the agreement. Although we had previously prepared an announcement, we had to be inclined for any last-minute changes made amid the night. We had to make sure we reported the statement at the right time and also that the accord complied with all regulations.

Lenovo has operations in more than 60 countries and has four ‘key location’ offices in the US, China, Hong Kong and Japan – what was the rationale behind the decision not to have a single headquarters?

‘We wish to be a global corporation and getting one single headquarters would inhibit us. Other than the four area that you mention, we have ready centres located strategically around the world to drive overall and local business.

Being a global company, are there other international securities regulatory issues you need to consider?

‘From a register perspective, we don’t have any trivial listings so our focus is on the Hong Kong rules and control. We have American Depository Receipts (ADRs) trading in the US so we are also mandatory to comply with the relevant rules there. For other global rules and regulations, we have support from the company’s compherhansiv legal team.’

Lenovo is going through a large-scale, cost-cutting restructuring process – how are you, as the company secretary, involved?

‘My Prime  priority, just as with the purchase we discussed earlier, is that information leak is handled in accordance with the managerial requirements. We need to decide if these kinds of reorganization plans are inside information that may distrub the share price or trading and, if so, we have to protect that the information is disclosed according to the requirements. In these issues we work closely with other teams in the company.’

In what ways is your job, as the company secretary of a global company, different from that of a company secretary of a domestic company?

‘One major variation is that I often task around the clock and I travel more usually. On one opeining I required to wake up in the middle of the night to answer questions disclose to the Hong Kong listing rules from a colleague in the US. We schedule at least four face-to-face board convention through the year and we hold these meetings in distinct cities around the world.

Other than Hong Kong, we’ve had these meetings in location like Beijing, Wuhan, India, Brazil, Italy, Japan, New York, Raleigh and San Francisco. So my team is relatively more mobile. The meetings can be in hotels, local offices or even in a manufacturing plant or a probe centre.

Do you enjoy working for a global company?

‘It’s disputing but I like it. Many people consider a company secretary’s job is very ordinary but my job is very exciting’.

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