Chairwoman and Co-founder Cher Wang Takes Over as CEO of HTC

Cher Wang (PHOTO CREDIT: HTC)
Cher Wang (PHOTO CREDIT: HTC)

There’s been a shakeup at HTC. Cher Wang, the HTC chairwoman who co-founded the Taiwanese smartphone maker back in 1997, is snatching the CEO title from Peter Chou, who remains at the company in a new strategic position overseeing product innovation.

From all appearances, this would be Chou’s strength. HTC has delivered a strong lineup of premium phones in recent years, notably a string of HTC One devices of which there’ll be a new model, the M9, coming to the U.S. on April 10.

But despite mostly strong reviews, such phones just haven’t sold well, certainly compared to the iPhone and Samsung’s rival Galaxy line. And HTC has been facing heat at the lower end of the market, where such Chinese competitors such as Xiaomi are having a major effect. Another Chinese rival, Lenovo, bought Motorola Mobility last year.

Once considered a high flier in the smartphone space, HTC’s global market share has dwindled into the low single-digits.

Moreover, Chou’s leadership also coincided with upper management turbulence, especially in marketing where there have been numerous executive departures. Ad campaigns with actors Gary Oldman and Robert Downey Jr., have had little positive impact to date.

As part of its strategy moving forward, HTC is trying to broaden its appeal beyond phones by moving into wearables — it has a partnership with Under Armour — action cameras and virtual reality, where it teamed up with gaming company Valve.

In fact, people that have seen early demonstrations of its upcoming HTC Vive virtual reality headset have been blown away by its potential.

Wang and her team visited with me recently to evangelize HTC’s move into VR and the company’s prospects overall.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Edward Baig