HTC Appoints New U.S. Strategy Chief, Creates “Emerging Devices” Unit To Focus On Innovation And Global Sales

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After months of internal turmoil and struggling sales, HTC is trying to reboot its strategy by establishing a new unit to develop “innovative” products and putting its global sales president back in charge of U.S. operations.

In an internal email obtained by WSJ, HTC’s CEO Peter Chou announced that President of Global Sales Jason McKenzie is now in charge of HTC America and will also support Chou with global corporate strategy. McKenzie already has experience leading the company’s U.S. strategy–he was HTC’s president for the America region for about a year before leaving that post to head global sales and marketing in 2011. McKenzie has steered HTC’s global sales strategy since last fall.

Chou also wrote that HTC’s President of North America Mike Woodward “will lead Emerging Devices, a newly established business unit that will focus on innovative new HTC products and global distribution strategies.”

Its executive reshuffling comes after HTC suffered a brain drain when some of its top talent, including HTC Asia CEO Lennard Hoornik, Senior Vice President of Global Market Greg Fisher, Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera and Global Communications VP Jason Gordan left the company.

The launch of HTC’s Emerging Devices unit comes as the struggling Taiwan-based smartphone maker continues to engage in an aggressive makeover of its global strategy and shifts its attention away from the U.S., previously its strongest market, to focus on Europe and Asia instead. HTC has struggled as larger rivals like Samsung grab an increasingly sizable chunk of the Android market. Supply chain issues hindered the sales potential of the HTC One and its other flagship product, the Facebook Home pre-loaded HTC First, suffered from a lackluster reception.

“I want to thank these two outstanding leaders for their contributions to the success of the HTC One so far,” Chou wrote in his email. “But as you know and would expect, we also need to do more. With the success of the one, we have many new opportunities both to expand current sales as well as to enter new distribution channels with new business model.”

HTC’s Q2 profits were down 82% year-over-year and its shares are currently trading at their lowest price in five years. But Chou tried to reassure employees in his email that HTC’s brand recognition is still on the climb.

“Among the youth segment, brand awareness is 87%, with 67% of this segment considering HTC a brand ‘on the up,'” Chou wrote.