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htc chairwoman •

Taiwanese smartphone giant HTC has announced on Thursday that Cher Wang will be appointed as chairwoman of the company, with former long-time CEO Peter Chou being transferred to a role concerning development of future products.

The appointment of Wang as CEO was voted by HTC’s board of directors and will come into full effect immediately. Wang was one of the company’s co-founders in 1997 – together with Chou – and became chairwoman of the board of directors in 2007. Chou will instead oversee the development and direction of new HTC products – which seems more than a symbolic role, with the company trying to broaden its device and gadget range.

The shift of power seems to have been prepared for some time within the company, as Peter Chou started directing his focus increasingly onto possible new products since a couple of years back, while also repeatedly delegating Mrs. Wang with more CEO-like attributions.

This change in leadership comes after an extended period of financial disappointment for the Taiwanese corporation, which recorded a continuous drop in sales over the past four years. HTC reported only a 500 million Taiwanese dollars (about 15 million in US dollars) profit in its fourth quarter of 2014, with number expected to drop in Q1 2015. This is quite a far cry away from main smartphone competitor Apple – that reported an $8.2 billion dollar profit in 2014’s last fiscal quarter.

To get itself back on track, HTC has unveiled its new projects at the Mobile World Congress held earlier this month in Barcelona, including a new One smartphone – criticized for being too similar to earlier versions -, a curiously designed camera and an electronic bracelet for fitness enthusiasts. The Taiwanese manufacturer also announced a partnership with Valve to produce a new allegedly groundbreaking virtual reality headset, called the HTC Vive.

HTC was founded back in 1997 by a trio consisting of Peter Chou, Cher Wang and H.T. Cho. It quickly rose to prominence at the beginning of the smartphone era, with it leading at one point the US market, over competitors Samsung and Apple. But the Taiwanese company has been dragging more and more behind the two giants in recent years, and changes to their strategy are needed to still maintain a share of relevance on the smartphone market.

Image Source: Bloomberg

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