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HTC operations exec steps down amid management changes

A new HTC Android-based smartphone Sensation is displayed during a news conference for the launch of the product in Taipei May 27, 2011. REU
A new HTC Android-based smartphone Sensation is displayed during a news conference for the launch of the product in Taipei May 27, 2011. REU

TAIPEI (Reuters) - HTC Corp's chief operating officer has stepped down in the middle of a management restructuring intended to improve product quality and supply chains, following delays in the launch of the Taiwanese firm's flagship new phone.

Matthew Costello became an executive advisor from Europe effective on June 1, according to an email from HTC President of Engineering and Operations Fred Liu to employees. Liu took up the operating responsibilities with Costello's departure.

Costello's move adds to a stream of top executives who have left or taken back seats as the former U.S. market leader in Android smartphones struggles to stem a slide in sales against competitors like Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

As part of the reorganization, HTC has set up a new Product Quality Assurance division and Product Management team to ensure its smartphones and other gadgets are up to scratch, Liu said in the email that was sent on Friday and obtained by Reuters.

The Taoyuan-based company did not comment on the management changes but said in a statement that it "had to change when it was right for the business".

Delays in the full launch of the flagship HTC One phone due to a shortage of a camera component earlier this year led the company to report a record-low net first-quarter profit.

HTC has seen a wave of executive departures, including Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera, President of South Asia Lennard Hoornik and Vice President of Global Communications Jason Gordon.

(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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