Kevin Packingham, chief product officer for Samsung Electronics, and the man who helped launch a number of popular Galaxy devices, has left the company, The New York Times reported Oct. 3.
It's unclear whether Packingham voluntarily left for another opportunity or was asked to leave
"Kevin Packingham has departed Samsung Mobile," a Samsung spokesperson told The Times, offering no insight into the catalyst for the news. "We thank Kevin for his contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors."
Packingham spent two years at Samsung Mobile in Dallas and was "instrumental" in the global unveiling of the Galaxy S III, The Times added. The S III's launch was as large-scale and secrecy-shrouded as any iPhone launch, and it was the first smartphone to prove a true competitor to Apple's devices.
In an interview in September, Packingham told The Times that Samsung had tweaked the way the mobile game was played. It won over carriers, he said, by spending its own money on giant marketing campaigns, instead of expecting the carriers to.
"The change that happened was it took a lot of burden off the carriers. People were coming into their stores and they didn't have to pay for that demand," he said, according to The Times.
Perhaps his departure has to do with the possibly less successful Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which was introduced at a snafu-plagued press event in New York Sept. 4 and has since been panned by critics.
David Pogue, in an Oct. 2 review in The Times, called the Gear a "human interface train wreck."
"Just throwing a bunch of trees into a pit doesn't make it a log cabin. And Samsung, sooner or later, will learn that it can't build a coherent device just by throwing features at it," Pogue complained.
Later in the review, he added, "Nobody will buy this watch, and nobody should."
Of course, it's also possible that the executive, who before Samsung worked at Amerilink Telecom, and before that Sprint, as a product executive, was also lured away by a competitor of the fabulously successful Samsung, or perhaps one of its partners.
At Business Insider's Ignition Mobile conference in March, Packingham had kind words for Sundar Pichai, the new head of Android at (Motorola parent company) Google.
Packingham called Pichai a "super-nice person" who is "very collaborative," according to Business Insider.
Packingham also called the relationship with Google very important, the report said, since each vendor has to sell the customer not only on their own brand but on the Google brand.
As of Oct. 3, Packingham's LinkedIn page still read "Chief Product Officer at Samsung."
The Times said Packingham did not respond to a request for comment.