ShenQi's Chen Xudong is new Lenovo, Motorola mobile chief

Changes in high ranking positions aren't always good. Unexplained changes in high ranking positions are even more suspicious. Given the suddenness of the move and the circumstances revolving around it, Lenovo's announcement that mobile business head and Motorola Mobility chair Liu Jun is stepping down is sure to raise a few eyebrows. In his stead will be Chen Xudong who leads Lenovo's ShenQi, another and separate smartphone unit in China that sells devices online. All of these just after Lenovo's rather positive performance in the smartphone market.

The company's recent earnings report revealed its smartphone shipments surpassing its PC business for the first time, which is quite telling if you're the world's largest PC maker. But while its smartphone business did well in isolation, it alone couldn't boost Lenovo's overall revenues.

Part of Lenovo's success in the mobile market was attributed to its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, so it's quite unexpected that it will be switching heads so soon after a commendable performance. That said, Lenovo does trail behind Samsung and Apple in the global smartphone market and behind Xiaomi in its home court in China.

Xudong's appointment, then, could probably be seen as consolidating its mobile efforts into something that could stand up against Xiaomi. The Chinese mobile giant has been successful at non-traditional business channels, selling devices and providing support online. Lenovo launched ShenQi to that similar tune.

Of course, with any management change, there will always be a question of what happens to affected business. ShenQi was pretty much a China-only affair, but now that will bleed into not only Lenovo's other mobile devices but into Motorola as well. Motorola is expected to unveil a new Moto flagship in a few months. It remains to be seen if this will have any effect on that, adverse or otherwise.

SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal