HTC hires former Orange executive as CEO to boost sales

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Taiwanese consumer electronics company HTC has hired former Orange executive Yves Maitre as its new chief executive officer (CEO).

Maitre will replace Cher Wang and will become HTC’s first CEO who is not a co-founder of the company. According to Ben Wood, chief of research at of CCS Insight, the leadership change signals HTC’s goal to regain a foothold in the smartphone market.

Maitre recently served as executive vice president (EVP) of Consumer Equipment and Partnerships at Orange. Wang, who was HTC CEO for four years, will remain as chairman of the board and will focus on the company’s strategy towards virtual reality (VR) devices.

The Taiwanese company developed the first mobile phones for Android and Windows. It recorded its largest market share in 2011 when it partnered with Google on its Nexus line of smartphones. However, it currently holds less than 1% of the global smartphone market.

Speaking to BBC News, Wood pointed out “It’s no secret that HTC was once one of the biggest companies when it came to smartphones. But it lost its way several years ago and has seen its market share decline.” He explained that HTC’s dwindling market share can be attributed to its devices’ subpar camera quality and the increasing competition from China and the US’ Silicon Valley companies.

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On the other hand, market intelligence firm IDC reports that HTC currently holds around 7% of the VR headset market as of last quarter. HTC’s the Vive VR headset competes with Facebook’s Oculus, Sony’s PlayStation VR and Microsoft HoloLens.

Wood added that Maitre will be facing challenges that should not be underestimated, saying “Not only is he going to be leading a business that needs to re-find its feet in the intensely competitive smartphone market, it’s also a company that’s betting big on VR [virtual reality], which is still an emerging technology.”

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