Peter Chou is a man that many of you will know as the man at the helm of the Ship that is HTC. That ship has found itself in some very rough waters as of late and the media has been questioning whether or not Peter Chou has been with the company too long to instigate the change that is needed for the company to recover. Reuters has run an interesting piece on Mr Chou and the company in general. It’s a good read, if not a little long but, I’m going to go through some of it below.
Chou joined HTC in 1997 and since then has been known at the company for his obsessive attention to detail. As one employee recalls it, there were piles and piles of prototype phones on his desk. Prototypes that he would spin, weigh and obsessively check each and every detail of. Chou is said to have an eye for materials and components that lead to great new products. He’s been CEO of the company for a long time now and while he once led massive expansion in the company, with hires coming from Sony Ericsson, Apple, Motorola and Microsoft, the “old guard” has now taken over once more. Most of these hires have since left the company and things have returned to how they were many moons ago.
In fact, HTC is now very much an isolated company. While they ship products on a global scale, pretty much everything is ran out of Taipei. This might sound like a good idea but, it’s a mixed blessing of sorts. A company like HTC needs to not only ship devices globally, but think globally. The piece in Reuters goes on to detail a quick-fire management style that’s described as “from the hip”. Many of you will remember the Sensation XL but, few of you will know how the device came to be. The short story is that they had to ship a new product in three months so, Chou drew some sketches on a whiteboard and then a few months later, the Sensation XL hit shelves. This sort of product development has once helped the company but now, with HTC lacking a long-term plan it’s simply not good enough.
We have absolutely no idea what’s going on at HTC – how can we? That said, things aren’t looking great for the company and while there new marketing campaign speaks of change, it’s beginning to look like change at the top is needed to bring the company back to the top. Chou himself declined to be interviewed by Reuters and who can blame him. HTC however, had this statement to put forward:
“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.”
What do you guys think? Can HTC turn things around, is the management at the top to blame or not? Let us know in the comments.