HTC confirms exodus of executives

PHOTO: HTC confirms exodus of executives

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Amid the impressive sales figure of 5 million units for its flagship smartphone since its launch in March, HTC, Taiwan's No. 1 smartphone vendor, confirmed Thursday that some of its senior executives have terminated their contracts.

Key HTC personnel told Taiwan's Commercial Times that Jason Gordon, HTC's vice president of global communications, and Kouji Kodera, chief product officer, have left the company to pursue other interests.

"HTC continues to invest in talent and recruitment as part of our broader human resources strategy to ensure the continued strength of our company's organizational structure," HTC said in a statement.

Gordon, whose duties will be assumed by HTC Vice President of Design Scott Croyle, said May 20 in a Twitter post that he had decided to leave after nearly seven years with the company.

The rumour first appeared on a tech news blog The Verge. A story, "HTC in disarray," said recently that HTC is hemorrhaging executives from its Seattle-based office owing to poor sales, internal turmoil and controversy.

It also said that, within the last several months, HTC has lost its Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera, Vice President of Global Communications Jason Gordon and product strategy manager Eric Lin, among several others.

The departure seemed to coincide with an earlier announcement by Ben Ho, HTC's chief marketing officer, that the company plans to move its core decision-making team back to its headquarters in Taipei, according to a Wednesday report by tech news blog Engadget.

An unnamed HTC executive recently revealed that HTC has sold "around 5 million" of its flagship smartphone, the One, since its launch in early March. He blamed component shortages for the supply issues, and said the company will have a better idea of how its phone is doing next month.

According to industry analysts, however, given the reported poor performance of its Facebook phone, the First, it may not be enough to re-establish the company's place among the top 10 on global smartphone sales charts. The company's largest rival in the Android smartphone space recently announced that it has shipped 10 million Galaxy S4s in less than a month, making it even more difficult for HTC to keep up with the industry goliath in terms of sales.

A latest survey released by Analysys International pointed out that HTC's first-quarter sales figure in China has made a comeback, shipping 3.1 per cent of smartphones in the mainland and ranking ninth. An earlier survey of the same research firm showed that HTC shipped only 2.9 per cent of smartphones in China and dropped out of top 10 handset brands.

In a separate report, GfK, Germany's largest market research institute, said that smartphone sales in Taiwan are expected to reach 7.3 million units in 2013, up nearly 30 per cent from 5.65 million units last year.

The institute also forecast smartphones to take up half of the local market by the end of 2013.