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HTC CEO said to hand off duties to focus on reversing decline

Peter Chou sheds sales and marketing responsibilities at the beleaguered handset maker to focus on innovation and product development, the Financial Times reports.

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Steven Musil
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HTC CEO Peter Chou. Stephen Shankland/CNET

The chief executive officer of HTC is handing off some of his duties to the company's chairwoman and founder as the struggling handset maker fights to regain market share, the Financial Times reported Sunday.

Peter Chou will temporarily relinquish some of his responsibilities to Cher Wang to focus on innovation and product development, in a bid to reverse a market share slide that recently resulted in the company's first quarterly net loss in more than 10 years. Wang, who has remained active in the company she founded in 1997, has ramped up her day-to-day duties to include sales, marketing, and supplier relationships, the newspaper reported.

"I have become very focused in the past couple of months. Before that I was too busy," Chou said in an interview with the Financial Times. "I took on too many things. I need to be more focused on innovation and [the] product portfolio."

After years of strong sales momentum, the company suffered a recent dropoff in sales. Its flagship HTC One has so far failed to revive the struggling brand in the face of fierce competition from Apple and Samsung.

Earlier this month, the Taiwanese handset maker reported a net loss of NT$2.97 billion ($101 million) in the three-month period ended September 30, its first quarterly net loss since going public in 2002. That loss stands in contrast to the net profit of NT$3.9 billion the company reported for the year-ago period.

The change in responsibilities comes just days after HTC's head of public relations resigned after four months on the job. Vice President and Head of Global PR, Corporate, and Internal Communications Lorain Wong -- who was in charge revitalizing of the struggling company's image -- resigned for personal reasons. Several executives have departed the company in recent months, including Chief Operating Officer Matthew Costello, who left in June, and HTC Asia CEO Lennard Hoornik, who left in May.