After three years of declining sales, Peter Chou has stepped down from his CEO post. HTC Chairwoman and co-founder Cher Wang will be taking over as the new CEO of the company. Chou will not leave the company, but will take up another role as head of the newly created Future Development Lab division, Bloomberg reports. He has been with the company since its inception 18 years ago in 1997, and has been its President since 2004. Also Read - HTC Desire 20+ launched with 48-megapixel quad rear camera setup
Under his tenure, HTC saw some great highs and new lows. It was Chou who encouraged Andy Rubin to continue developing the Android platform. HTC was initially just a contract manufacturer for global brands like Compaq and T-Mobile, but under Chou’s leadership they changed their strategy to build a brand of their own. In 2008, HTC became the first device to don the Android operating system, with its HTC Dream smartphone. In 2011, HTC overtook Apple in smartphone sales in the US, a huge achievement in HTC’s journey. Also Read - HTC Wildfire E Lite smartphone design leaks online
But in 2013, the company reported its first annual loss. HTC released its unaudited earnings for the first quarter of 2013, and the results confirmed that the company was losing money for the first time in history. The smartphone manufacturer made a net loss of NT$2.97 billion (about $101 million) on revenue of $47.05 billion (about $1.6 billion). The Verge had then reported that insiders from HTC blamed Chou for all of HTC’s 2013 struggles. The loss was also largely attributed to cheaper available options from Xiaomi and a broad lineup from Samsung. Also Read - HTC Wildfire E Lite listed on Google Play Console
The year 2014 saw HTC branching out from a smartphone-only company, to launching the RE action camera and HTC Grip fitness tracker. At MWC this year, it also announced a partnership with games developer Valve to product a virtual reality headset called RE Vive. The company breathed a sigh of relief as HTC posted its first quarterly revenue growth in more than three years in January. It posted an operating profit of about $180 million for the quarter. HTC also unveiled its new M9 smartphone at Mobile World Congress earlier this month.
In what had been termed as a temporary move, Wang was handed over some of Chou’s responsibility since last year. “As an entrepreneur at heart, I am excited to see so many new opportunities, and I am honoured to accept this opportunity to help shape the next stage of HTC’s development,” Wang said in a statement. Wang is the co-founder of HTC and has been with the company since its inception. She was listed as the 54th most powerful woman in the world byForbes in 2014.