HTC

Peter Chou steps down as HTC CEO to handle product innovation, hands over duty to Cher Wang

Peter Chou steps down as HTC CEO to handle product innovation, hands over duty to Cher Wang
HTC announced a shift in its upper management, which sees longtime CEO Peter Chou step down from his position and hand it to Chairman and co-founder Cher Wang. Ms. Wang's statement on the matter points towards a new emphasis on "the potential of a new generation of connected products and services", giving the HTC Vive VR gaming headset as an example of "the importance of these new connected technologies for our future." 

While we can't take Ms. Wang's words verbatim, we can cautiously assume that under her command, HTC will become a devices company as much as it is a smartphone company. It makes sense, as an exclusive focus on handsets means limited opportunity.

In the capacity of chairman, Cher Wang was involved in the economics and negotiation part of the business since the company's beginning, letting Peter Chou focus predominantly on product development. Although Mr. Chou's 10-year leadership saw HTC progress from whitebox device maker to a renowned global brand, his passion for product design reportedly got in the way of sensible management decisions more than once. 

Chou is known for his obsessive attention to detail, quick decision making, and little discussion with management over said decisions. His strategy of making HTC profitable by virtue of selling expensive top-notch devices, such as the HTC One and One M8, largely helped by a collection of mid and low-range Desire handsets, led to modest success in the extremely competitive smartphone market.

With Apple and Samsung having a firm grip on the high-end, and Chinese vendors pushing hard at the low-end of the market, it is difficult for a company relying exclusively on smartphones and mobile accessories, such as HTC, to prosper. Hopefully, a well thought-out change in direction from Cher Wang, paired with Peter Chou's input as newly appointed head of HTC's Future Development Lab, will lead to more innovative products like the Vive, and more consecutive quarters of profit. 

Landing the CEO spot will also put Cher Wang in the spotlight she rightfully deserves, but has opted to stay out of. She co-founded HTC Corp. with Peter Chou back in 1997, managed key supplier relationships, and got recognized as "the most powerful woman in wireless" by Forbes in 2011. She has ranked on the publication's list of "most powerful women" continuously since then. Ms. Wang certainly has the know-how for running HTC, but proving herself as CEO may be challenging - even for her - in these competitive times.

source: HTC

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