Peter Chou steps down as HTC CEO to handle product innovation, hands over duty to Cher Wang
posted by Luis D.
Mar 20, 2015, 4:14 AM
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.
an exclusive focus on handsets means limited opportunity.
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.
Taipei, March 20, 2015 - The Board of Directors of HTC Corporation (TWSE 2498) has named Cher Wang, Chairman and co-founder of HTC, as chief executive officer, effective immediately. Peter Chou will transition to a strategic new role leading future product innovation.
“We are seeing rapid changes in the industry, with the smartphone as our personal hub connecting us to a growing world of smart devices. We pioneered the smartphone industry; now we are applying that thinking to realize the potential of a new generation of connected products and services. The overwhelming response that our virtual reality product, HTC Vive, received earlier this month underlines the importance of these new connected technologies for our future,” said Cher Wang, Chairman and CEO, HTC. “As an entrepreneur at heart, I am excited to see so many new opportunities, and I am honoured to accept this opportunity to help shape the next stage of HTC’s development.”
Over the last two years, Ms. Wang had been increasingly involved in the running of various aspects of the business, to allow Mr. Chou to focus on product development, a role in which he has demonstrated world-class design and cutting-edge technology expertise. The Board of Directors and executive team agreed that it was now appropriate to formalize that progression and make the organizational changes necessary to enable HTC to proceed to the next stage of its development.
In his time as CEO, Peter Chou oversaw the successful transition of HTC from a handheld device ODM to a global branded company. In his new executive role as Head of HTC Future Development Lab, Mr. Chou will be instrumental in identifying future growth opportunities for the Company.
About Cher Wang, Chairman and CEO Cher Wang has an enviable track record in the electronics industry. Her strategic insight into technology trends and entrepreneurship has enabled her to establish a number of highly successful IT-related businesses.
In 1997, Ms. Wang co-founded HTC Corp. to make the convergence of mobile computing and communications a reality through the development of innovative smartphones. This vision has translated into a multi-billion dollar global company that has consistently been first to market with new technologies, including new wireless generations and the touch interface, and devices for Microsoft® Windows Mobile and Android operating systems.
Last year, Ms. Wang was named of the 25 people CNBC judged to have had the most profound impact on business and finance since 1989. In 2011, Ms. Wang was named ‘the most powerful woman in wireless’ by Forbes and one of the most influential women by Fast Company, and she has been ranked on Fortune’s annual ‘most powerful women’ list continuously since 2012. She was also awarded ‘Person of the Year’ by CCTV in China. Ms. Wang graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and is married with two children.
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