There have been signs that this was coming as early as 2013, but now it’s been made official: HTC’s Peter Chou is stepping down as CEO. HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang will take over the role.
Chou will remain with the company in a very hands-on fashion, heading HTC’s Future Development Lab. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Chou handed over some of his duties as CEO to Wang in 2013 in order to focus more on product development. “I know the company, I know the people, and I have the vision,” Wang said, speaking to Bloomberg. “I think I am the best candidate. I suggested it.”
Chou and Wang co-founded HTC along with H.T. Cho in 1997, and only a few years later, the company would create the world’s first Android phone. The following years would see some great products from the company, along with some major missteps.
It remains to be seen how this change will affect the company’s future, but many in the industry might see this as a good thing. Chou has taken the blame for many of HTC’s mistakes, and even told company executives before the launch of the first HTC One in 2013 that he would resign if the phone didn’t sell.
A new CEO isn’t the only change that HTC is seeing in 2015. The company is moving into product areas that aren’t just new to HTC — they’re new to the world. The Vive VR headset, developed in partnership with Valve Software, is one of the first in a new wave of virtual reality headsets. This is another risky maneuver for a company that doesn’t have a great history with risky maneuvers.
With at least two major products headed to market in 2015, it’s very much a sink or swim time for HTC, and perhaps a change in leadership is just what the company needs.