In the current smartphone market, you’re Samsung, you’re slipping or you’re struggling. HTC remains solidly in the last category, and on Sunday night CEO Peter Chou announced a new plan to help reverse the Taiwan-based company’s fortunes.
Effective immediately, Jason Mackenzie, HTC’s president of Global Sales, will also be in charge of HTC America, Chou said in an internal email, the Wall Street Journal reported July 21.
Additionally, Mike Woodward, current president of North America, will now lead “Emerging Devices, a newly established business unit that will focus on innovative new HTC products and global distribution strategies,” wrote Chou.
Like the majority of its competitors, HTC is rumored to be working on a smart watch—a device that could be among its emerging devices.
Chou gave a verbal pat on the back to both Woodward and Mackenzie.
“I want to thank these two outstanding leaders for their contributions to the success of the HTC One so far,” Chou wrote. “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 models.”
Mackenzie has increasingly been a public face for HTC. In February in New York, he introduced the HTC One—the company’s major push to gain back lost market share.
The One has been a hit with reviewers. It features a home screen with updating news titles, dual front-facing speakers, a slim, attractive design and a great camera with features that, at its introduction, hadn’t yet been seen on a phone.
The Journal’s Walter Mossberg, reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S 4, urged readers to instead “carefully consider the more polished-looking, and quite capable, HTC One” instead. And he wasn’t the only one to do so.
Still, HTC wound up delivering first-quarter results that were its worst to date, after the complexity of the camera slowed down HTC’s supplier and the One wound up in just three markets instead of the intended 80.
In April, the HTC One arrived on the AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile networks. Verizon Wireless, during its July 18 earnings call, said it will begin selling the One later this summer.
HTC’s turnaround efforts have also included a new chief marketing officer, in Benjamin Ho, and the retirement of the “Quietly Brilliant” tag line in favor of what Ho has said will be something “bolder.”
Facing overwhelming competition in the United States, HTC also announced last year that it will more aggressively focus on markets in Europe and Asia.
HTC’s Chou, in his note to employees, also offered some encouragement.
“Among the youth segment,” he wrote, according to the Journal, “brand awareness is 87 percent, with 67 percent of this segment considering HTC a brand ‘on the up.'”