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HTC "Iron Man" executive Peter Chou profiled: perfectionism, abrasive management and quick decisions

Posted: , by Victor H.

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HTC
HTC is a company that has seen it all. It popped the champagne in the early years of Android when HTC phones sold like hotcakes and now it has fallen to barely hang in the top 10 smartphone makers. All throughout, Peter Chou was at the helm of the company. Now, as HTC is undergoing tough times the earlier unthinkable question surfaces - is it time for a leadership change?

First, though, it’s worth knowing who is Peter Chou as a manager. Born in Myanmar, he studied electrical engineering in Taiwan and co-founded HTC in 1997, after a gig at Digital Equipment Company (DEC).

As a leader, Chou is described as a perfectionist paying meticulous attention to materials and design. No wonder HTC’s smartphones are easily recognized for their distinc, industrial looks. His room would often be filled with prototypes that he’d inspect, so many that a pile would form that would sometimes spill and fall on the ground.

"Having the ability to just tear up a plan and say, OK, this is the new thing and we're going to get it done fast. That's Peter," a former senior foreign executive at HTC said.

A man of quick decisions, Chou has the will and authority to quickly adjust. This is what is thought to be in the core of both HTC’s success and current problems. In a nascent Android market, quickly changing components and delivering devices translated in a success, but in a more mature market where you have to plan ahead to secure orders HTC’s strength might have turned into weakness.

"The weak point is they don't really have a long term strategy," said another ex-executive. "It used to be a strength, and now is becoming a weak point as they don't have a clear direction going forward."

The quick rise to the top of HTC allowed the company to hire foreign executives and Chou went for it. His abrasive management style however would intervene with their egos as Chou would override their decisions without even asking. Fast forward to today, and the international team that HTC assembled has largely fallen down and the company is back to its Taiwan core with Taipei designers. Yet, it’s still an international company and Chou understands this.

Can changing the leadership shift the tide for HTC, though? It’s hard imagining the company without Chou, not just for the public, but for the employees and even the critics. And truth is there is no one person to be named a successor. Right now, HTC has kicked off a big effort to change - introducing cheaper devices in China, rejuvenating its US positions with closer carrier ties and building a new operations team. All of that happening as a new marketing campaign with Robert Downey Jr. kicks off. It’s a start, and we’re soon to hear about HTC’s new devices for this Holiday season including a phablet, the HTC One Max.

source: Reuters

16 Comments
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posted on 21 Aug 2013, 04:02 2

1. htc_evo_3d (Posts: 84; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)


I like this guy !!!

posted on 21 Aug 2013, 04:04 5

2. BillyBoy (Posts: 16; Member since: 01 Jul 2013)


"A man of quick decisions, Chou has the will and authority to quickly adjust" The problem is BAD decisions, one after another one. And is a bit late. HTC aka Qtek is one of the pioneers o smartphones toghether with Palm and Blackberry - one long gone dead and two more to go.

posted on 21 Aug 2013, 04:55 3

3. Alex123 (Posts: 166; Member since: 17 Oct 2012)


Chou, please keep in mind that customers need a phone with long life battery, nice camera (for me personally i don't like ultrapixel), NFC (i think all smartphones now should come with NFC) and the price should be more competitive with Samsung (Don't follow the way Apple does). I love HTC one but i don't go for it because I don't think i need to spend over US$ 600 for a device with a 4mp camera.

posted on 21 Aug 2013, 13:38

12. torr310 (Posts: 306; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


Alex123 is damn right! I picked Note 2 because I need a longer lasting battery (and the camera seems better), even I don't tend to get such a big screen.

posted on 21 Aug 2013, 16:17

13. zhiae (Posts: 142; Member since: 26 Aug 2012)


i have htc one and s4 right now but i still like htc i dont know y i just like it even the camera is grate i like how colors stands

posted on 21 Aug 2013, 04:56 5

4. kanagadeepan (Posts: 591; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)


He still has to take many correct decisions, instead of quick bad decisions...

Earlier bad decisions,
1] Ignored mid and low end phones (still now)
2] over-pricing in emerging markets (like India)
3] NON removable and comparatively tiny battery
4] No memory expansion (looks like changing now)
5] Soo BIGGGGG bezels (Their 4.7" phones are as big as 5" ones from competitors)
6] No Timely updates for many phones
7] Not so Dev-friendly as earlier

posted on 21 Aug 2013, 06:33 2

6. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 5645; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


Like hiring a new go marketing in sales that makes HORRIBLE TERRIBLE COMMERCIAL. Add a SD CARD.

posted on 21 Aug 2013, 06:48 5

7. almostdone (Posts: 93; Member since: 25 Sep 2012)


8) They need to improve their camera quality. Ultrapixel is the biggest gimmick...

I don't use camera a lot on a smartphone but it is important when I do want to take the odd few photos the quality is good.

posted on 21 Aug 2013, 16:21

14. zhiae (Posts: 142; Member since: 26 Aug 2012)


bazels is in needed one hand usage tray that on s4 nearly no bazel like im doing it now u got that answer i hade s3 i dint pull the battery out or add ex storge
as 7 } i want punch htcdev in there mother as$ i searching for my RUU nearly a month for god sake

posted on 21 Aug 2013, 05:11 1

5. tiara6918 (Posts: 1242; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)


How about cher wang and the others? For me,peter just needs to make the right strategies at the right time for them to succeed once again

posted on 21 Aug 2013, 07:23 4

8. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


They should get rid of the guy that came up with the button layout on the One. Outstanding phone, superior in many ways but the button configuration still leaves me wondering why.

posted on 21 Aug 2013, 07:58 4

9. Fallout09 (Posts: 409; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


I agree 100%. They should have stuck with the 3 button configuration. Why couldn't they make the HTC logo the home button? Still maintain your company branding and still keep your device consistent with the rest of the Android crowd.

posted on 21 Aug 2013, 08:34 1

10. ECPirate37 (Posts: 79; Member since: 14 Jul 2011)


You may know this @Fallout09, but if you have your phone rooted; you can make the HTC logo a button. It is actually the area right above the HTC, but it works none the less.

posted on 21 Aug 2013, 09:11 1

11. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


That, and when you go in some apps, the menu button is right in the middle, using its own row. Total waste of space.

The Google version have this layout or is it more standardized with the rest of Android phones?

posted on 22 Aug 2013, 02:22

15. Taters (Posts: 2378; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


If he is a perfectionist then why does HTC have the absolute worst quality control in the industry?

That and his button layout and phone size choices are terrible.

posted on 22 Aug 2013, 08:30

16. amilcarmz86 (Posts: 95; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)


the ultrapixel s**t is a joke...

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