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Samsung taps ex-Sprint exec for product innovation

Samsung's U.S. mobile arm hired Kevin Packingham as its new head of product innovation.

Samsung Electronics has appointed a former Sprint Nextel executive to help its U.S. mobile arm plan and launch new phones.

Samsung tapped Kevin Packingham as its new senior vice president of product innovation, the company said today.

Packingham was most recently chief executive of Amerilink Telecom, a small private company created to usher Chinese equipment manufacturer Huawei in as a vendor to Sprint Nextel, Packingham's former employer. Sprint, however, ended up going with Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, and Samsung, and shunning Huawei due to security concerns expressed by legislators.

Packingham had a considerably longer stint at Sprint, where he served in various executive roles for more than 11 years. Most of his roles dealt with product management. He was a fixture at trade shows and conferences, often demonstrating new high-profile products at those events. He left as senior vice president of product and technology.

There's been a recent shuffling of the executive ranks at Samsung Telecommunications of America. In July, the unit's head of products and technology, Omar Khan, left to go to Citigroup.

Nick Dicarlo, head of product planning and product marketing; Gavin Kim, who runs content, data services, and enterprise mobility; and communications executive Tim Rowden have taken over his duties, the company said.

Packingham will report to Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile.

"Samsung has enjoyed a strong relationship with Kevin for many years as a trusted colleague within the telecom industry and we're excited to add Kevin's experience and knowledge to our senior leadership team," Sohn said. "Kevin's extensive background in bringing innovative and game-changing products and services to the U.S. market will be a major factor in the future success of Samsung Mobile."

Samsung is in the middle of a resurgence with its smartphone business. The company is launching a round of Galaxy S II phones for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.