CEO Peter Chou hindering HTC’s turnaround?


Peter Chou has been HTC’s CEO now for more than 10 years. He’s overseen the company during its early meteoric rise and its more recent troubles as it stumbled and saw market share vanish and profits evaporating (and maybe even turning into a loss soon). With no clear sense that HTC has a real strategy to turn its fortunes around, the cries that Chou must go are getting louder. It now appears that company insiders have are joining the chorus in expressing their displeasure with the company’s leadership. Citing anonymous insiders, Reuters reports that Chou is increasingly viewed as an obstacle to the company’s turnaround.

Interviews with “a dozen former and current HTC executives” has turned up stories of internal feuding and reports that Chou’s management style is both abrasive and lacking the strategic vision necessary to return the company to former glory. Managers are open berated and their decisions are overturned with little explanation. Issues are ignored, growing the longer they are not addressed.

At the same time, Chou is described as a perfectionist with a keen eye for hardware design and a leader able to make decisions quickly. These very characteristics helped him launch HTC into a global player. In one anecdote, Chou is said to have launched the design process for the Sensation XL with a series of whiteboard sketches. Three months later, the smartphone launched and garnered strong reviews. This ability to move quickly gave HTC an edge when competitors took up to 18 months to develop devices. But the market has changed and a longer term strategy is now needed as the smartphone market reaches maturity. More important now are the ability to secure supply chains of components and materials for upcoming devices. For example, the HTC One’s launch was marred by supply issues. “The weak point is they don’t really have a long term strategy,” said one person. “It used to be a strength, and now is becoming a weak point as they don’t have a clear direction going forward.”

Chou has publicly stated that he has no plan to step down at this time. HTC also released a statement supporting his leadership: “HTC’s board and broad employee base remain committed to Peter Chou’s leadership. The (flagship) HTC One product family – which has been met with accolades by media and consumers alike – was a result of Peter’s vision and leadership, and speaks for itself.”

While many would like to see Chou replaced, they also acknowledge that the company does not have a clear successor in mind. “Part of the weakness is there is no obvious successor, and that’s not been good for morale,” explained one source.

Can Peter Chou turn HTC around or does the company need new leadership to reestablish its credibility in the smartphone arena? Let us know below.

Source : Reuters