Lenovo announced a change in management in its mobile business, with the head of its ShenQi internet-based smart device business taking up the reins of Lenovo’s Mobile Business Group and becoming chairman of Motorola Mobility.

Chen Xudong (pictured) has “proven his ability to create a leader in China and has demonstrated his entrepreneurial spirit” through his leadership of the spin-off, Lenovo said. He previously served as president of Lenovo in China, where he led its PC market share growth and profitability increases.

In a statement, Lenovo said that Liu Jun, incumbent EVP of the mobile unit and chairman of the Motorola business, is to become “a special consultant to the CEO on mobile business and strategy for a certain period of time,” but declined to provide further details. It did state, however, that “he will leave with our greatest respect and gratitude for his long, productive and successful service to Lenovo”.

Under his leadership, Lenovo became the world’s number 3 smartphone and tablet player, and acquired Motorola Mobility.

“Liu Jun has created momentum for the Lenovo brand in emerging markets, and he successfully led us to close the Motorola Mobility deal. Li Jun has helped diversify Lenovo’s business overall and has built a strong foundation,” the company said.

What the company has not addressed is why the executive is heading off at a time when the mobile unit appears to be performing well.

Lenovo is facing tough competition in its home market, though, as Apple increases its presence in the premium tier and local rivals such as Xiaomi carve out a greater share of the mass market.

In order to address this, it has put a transformation plan in place, including an “aggressive” expansion in its internet activities (including ShenQi).

And the company also has the integration of Motorola to address, having stated that it is looking to turn the business around in four to six quarters of the deal closing.