Departures include VP of Global Communications, Chief Product Officer, Asia CEO

Update 2: HTC has confirmed the departure of Lennard Hoornik, and says CFO Chialin Chang will take over in the interim. Engadget is also reporting that Head of Global Digital Service Elizabeth Griffin will be leaving HTC later this week. Meanwhile, The Verge's Chris Ziegler tweets that he's "catching wind of a bunch more departures."

Update: CNET reports that HTC Asia CEO Lennard Hoornik has become the latest HTC exec to part ways with the company, following two months of leave.

Original story: HTC's Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera has left the company, The Verge is reporting. Kodera's exit is the latest in a string of top-level departures at the struggling smartphone maker, including VP of Global Communications Jason Gordon, who announced his exit late last week.

In recent months product strategy manager Eric Lin has also called it quits, and The Verge reports that global retail marketing manager Rebecca Rowland and director of digital marketing John Starkweather have also left. Writing on Twitter this Monday, a vocal Lin advised friends still working at HTC to "leave now," adding, "you'll be so much happier, I swear." Across the Atlantic, HTC EMEA President Florian Seiche recently departed for Nokia.

Sources for The Verge suggest that the U.S.-based marketing departures could be the result of new CMO Benjamin Ho moving key decision-making away from the company's Seattle office and back to the Taipei headquarters. The site also quotes a source singling out the ill-fated HTC First for criticism, describing it as "a disaster." The "Facebook phone" recently had its price cut from $99 to 99 cents on-contract amid disputed reports that carrier partner AT&T may have decided to drop the handset.

On the other hand, sales of the flagship HTC One appear to be picking up. Production capacity is set to double this month to keep pace with "strong demand," according to recent comments from HTC North Asia president Jack Tong. However the One will continue to face fierce competition from Korean giant Samsung, whose Galaxy S4 is expected to hit its 10 millionth unit shipped this week. And HTC's financials remain precarious following early component supply issues with the HTC One.

Only time will tell  how HTC will be able to meet the challenges it's facing, however we can be sure this series of high-profile departures is unlikely to help matters.

via The Verge


Reader comments

HTC loses several high-profile executives [Updated]


My friend you need to educate yourself! Companies can still survive making a loss, however they are still making profit. Profit yes it can manipulated easily, however their revenue from sales are strong. Even if they do make a loss, a company can take a hit.... Apple made I believe almost ten years of losses! Just don't declare dividends and it will help the company even more... microsofts didnt declare one for 22 years and no one cared (because it made them richer and boosted shares from $1 to $200).

The thing is they aren't even making a loss. They are just making less profit than they were.

I think if apple was smart they would buy HTC for manufacturing their own products instead of outsourcing parts and then outsourcing the assembly, then they would also have access to what ever patents HTC has, Because I seriously doubt Google would buy them, or invest anything this late in the game, and I don't know if samsung even sees any potential there. In the long run Apple would save money and could offer a cheaper phone or increased revenue for building their own devices.

It would be sad to lose HTC, but when you have talented people jumping ship in a mass exodus, this could hurt the company extremely bad in stock shares leaving them open to be bought by another company. HTC was such a reputable company by 2011, even above samsung for mobile, and now it seems the CEO is burning every bridge, not to mention it sounds like they are having problems paying their suppliers for parts. Sounded like when the One came out they owed their suppliers money and couldn't get parts until they were paid up, imo, because there were no shortages.

Then you need to tell LG Motorola, Sony and others to get in gear. Buy their devices. Spread the news to your friends.

Punctuation is key here...

"They weren't producing. Time for new people with fresh idea."

Makes a lot more sense.

Sucks, even though I am more like GS4 fan, we still need a choice and it looks like HTC is gonna fold soon. A company can't survive on One phone.... I am also interested how they are going to support/update One with all the trouble they are going through.

Exactly! Just as with the Carriers, I don't want any OEM Phone maker to go out of business. Choice is our greatest weapon against Poor service, Price, and selection. If competition goes away, the remaining companies will not work as hard and take advantage of the situation.

How sad.. I never like to see a company suffer. Though to be truthful HTC has made many bad moves and did not really learn from them.

This. Looks like they have chosen to be defiant with what THEY want in a phone, till the bitter end.

I am disappointed to see HTC doing worse instead of better. Although I've never owned an HTC device, I'd like to see HTC (and a lot of other OEMs) in the market. More choices are always beneficial to consumers.

Whoa,Hold on there that does not mean that they are doing worse. Really don't know what kind of pressure that were being placed on these people, in order to produce more likely HTC is better off w/o them. Htc had a string of bad years, with these people running various divisions within the company so hey let's see what's going to happen.

Aaaaaaand HTC is likely down. Samsung all the way! We android nerds love 'choice'. Look at how much choice a one-company market dominated by Samsung could give us! Hooray!

How many liked the "cheap" plastic on the S3? Hint: it's in the HUGE millions. And it looks like about 10 million so far don't mind the "cheap" plastic in the S4. And I'm quite sure millions more will chime in soon. With the S4 dropping over at Verizon today, I wonder if anyone on Verizon will not mind the "cheap" plastic?! What do you think? U think Verizon might sell a few million "cheap" plastic S4s? Hmm?

People in top posts do move around a bit. However we all know that HTC are a bit fragile.

The ability of HTC to supply the real demand for the One worldwide, in a timely fashion seems much more important in real terms. Flagships need to be available, in quantity, in the early months after launch, so the people who buy top end kit (and talk about it) can get it - and spread the news. After six months, a major flagship begins to look like old news.

if Chou had any shame he would resign or commit seppuku.

do you hear me Chou???????????????????????

Ben Ho (you know, the guy that looks like an ape with a hairless face)should be added to your comment as well.

Telling someone from a company you don't like to go kill themselves isn't very classy, sir. Might want to tone that down a bit before you embarrass yourself. Although you probably have already done that with the excessive question marks and speaking to a man who doesn't frequent this site, asking if he can "hear" your text through his screen.

HAHAHAHA....all the doom and gloom comments. This is actually good news. People have been complaining over the past couple years that HTC's marketing has been bad, their products been less than stellar. So now it seems those people DIRECTLY responsible are leaving because they are having their power taken away (a good thing). And now things are being handled by new people with new ideas and fresh strategies, and yet its bad? SMH, things definately looking up for HTC. Out with the old, in with the new. Thats how buisness works.

I've never heard people complain about their marketing. I have, however, heard people bitch about their products. Poor engineering decisions such as removable battery and storage, insistence on bloating up their sense shell, etc. Seems like a case of not listening to their customers.

You've never heard people complain because their marketing has been all but nonexistent. Meanwhile, TouchWiz is now twice as bloated as Sense ever was.

Exactly, but times are changing. They have done more ad's and commercials for the One in the past 2 months than they have for all their phones combined for the past 5 years.

What I don't get is that HTC should have structured the First (aka Facebook phone) deal with Facebook as a nameless manufacturer. They should have made Facebook be responsible for all losses as all previous Facebook phones have failed (and given that Facebook turned around and provided the Home function to other phones was the final nail in the coffin).

Basically the company who came up with the Facebook phone should eat the losses. Maybe it is bias, but I just cannot imagine that HTC came up with this idea (if HTC did, then talk about a company that doesn't understand the phone market).

Chou let himself get blinded and distracted by celebrity and "glamour" deals - see Dr. Dre/Iovine with Beats and Zuckerberg with Facebook - and he negotiated one bad deal after another for HTC shareholders. he got lazy and relied on gimmicks rather than deliver innovation - and that's what has brought HTC where they are at today. you can try to fuck customers but sooner or later they will fuck you back.

I really think people have a warped view of what it takes for a company to go under the water. As long as htc keeps making quality devices, there will be an audience to pick them up. Just like how there's an audience to buy devices of all sizes from Samsung, there will always be an audience for quality over quantity. They may shrink and lose alot of influence, but disappear altogether..think again.

I gave HTC a chance when I bought the Thunderbolt. They failed me and every Thunderbolt owner by not supporting it after the sale. I will never trust HTC again. I'll never buy another HTC phone. Can't depend on them.

The author of the original article at the Verge seems to have unfortunately omitted to make reference to this piece from the Taiwanese press almost 5 months ago. It would appear that links in the comment section are automatically deemed to be spam so I cannot post the url. However, a search with these words brings up the article from Focus Taiwan, the largest English language news source in Taiwan:

focus taiwan htc kodera jan 3 2013

The article is entitled "HTC on track for turnaround in 2013: Goldman Sachs"

To quote:

"Goldman Sachs' remarks came after Taiwanese media Commercial Times reported Dec. 31 that Kouji Kodera and Matthew Costello, HTC's chief product officer and chief operating officer, will leave the company by the end of the first quarter of 2013."

So clearly, prior to even the announcement of the HTC One or the First, Mr Kodera was already on the "verge" of going out the door, either of his own volition or being pushed out.

Did HTC deny this when it was reported? The author of the article cited above seems to think so but not really. The response was:

"HTC rebutted the report, saying that the company has sufficient workforce and has built an appropriate management structure to ensure its future development and stable operations.". That is a rebuttal of the statement that the Chief Product Officer was leaving. Not really.

The Commercial Times in Taiwan is a daily business newspaper, the equivalent of the WSJ there. Focus Taiwan is the online outlet of the Central News Agency, Taiwan's largest. This article was found in a matter of a few minutes of a rudimentary search.

Does nobody in the online world do any fact-checking these days???

Not pointing a finger at androicentral but Cnet in this case. Mr Hoornik was NOT the CEO of HTC Asia. He was the President of "South Asia Pacific" which includes " Singapore, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia and New Zealand" but NOT "Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and China".

How long would it have taken Cnet to have checked this?? A matter of seconds.

Glad to see the departures...

Some of the "key" persons leaving were global retail marketing manager Rebecca Rowland and director of digital marketing John Starkweather.

A huge reason HTC enjoys less market share is because they couldn't effectively market a cure for cancer- they are HORRIBLE!

Time to re-tool marketing since the products are sound...

This is not bad news at all. The only thing this signals is change. People complained about HTC's marketing strategy for years. Also complained about their stagnant design. Well guess what people, they are finally listening. These disgruntled guys are having the power taken from them and given to new people with new ideas. Of course them being human, they are gonna try and bad mouth the company because they feel slighted. Who cares.....move on. Your ideas got stale, so its on to the next creative person with fresh ideas and bold stragegies. Looks like HTC decided to take charge instead of being status quo. Kudos to them.

Uhhh last time I checked. HTC is doing better than LG and Sony and Motorola..... Soooo. Yea they will do just fine.

LG and Sony are huge conglomerates of which smartphones are just a small part of their sales. Motorola is owned by Google, so no shortage of resources there either. HTC is a drastically smaller company. I hope they survive and prosper because Android would not be where it is today without HTC, but it is far from guaranteed.

Is anyone else getting the mental image of rats fleeing a sinking ship while reading this article? Don't misunderstand, I've owned a couple of HTC phones, and I loved them. I actually still have them and use them. They're the company that made the very first Android phone, after all. I actually just finished rooting and installing a custom ROM on a buddie's G1 the other day.

But this is one of those things that could either be very bad, if they can't quickly move other competent people into these key positions and not leave a leadership vacuum, or very good, if they new people are able to help continue to turn things around at HTC.

Only time will tell.

If these are just casualties of shuffling chairs on the executive deck, then that's life in the big city and they knew it when they signed up for the cruise.

If, on the other hand, it's a response to brilliant decisions such as the HTC First and restricting Verizon Wireless from getting the One, then good riddance, folks. That would be a good sign.

Actually, I was a bit surprised. Earlier on in trading on the Taiwan Stock Exchange HTC went up over 1%. It however ended up 2.08% down. However, the Index also started out positive but ended up down 1.92%. So essentially, HTC tracked the market.