Asian Management

The Asian executive suite is infamous for being clubby, insular and resistant to outsiders, especially foreigners. But urgent commercial realities can alter the most ingrained management mind-set. There's been a recent series of surprising changes at the top of well-known regional companies. It's too soon to call it a trend, but there appears to be greater willingness to shake up corporate habits by bringing in outsiders, at least among a handful of companies that compete in fast-moving global markets.

Two recent high-profile examples: Chinese computer giant Lenovo three months ago announced that American Stephen Ward, a senior vice...

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