Ina Fried

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Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera Among Several Exits at Troubled Phone Maker HTC

Already facing big challenges on the sales side, Taiwanese phone maker HTC has been hit with a wave of staff departures.

htc_one

Chief among the exits is Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera, with several others from the marketing and communications ranks also having recently left, including Eric Lin, who is now working for Microsoft’s Skype unit, and communications chief Jason Gordon, who left on Friday.

Kodera, a former head of products for Sony Ericsson, joined HTC in 2010.

“Kouji Kodera has left HTC to pursue other interests,” HTC said in a statement. “We appreciate his contributions and wish him all the best. Scott Croyle will take over his duties.”

Kodera declined to comment, as did Gordon.

Once a rapidly rising star in the phone world, HTC is struggling to reverse a steep sales slide. The company has pinned much of its hope on the HTC One. Though well regarded, the device finds itself competing not only against products from Samsung and Apple — but also the giant marketing budgets that accompany those devices.

HTC had hoped to also get a boost by being first with a device supporting Facebook’s Home software, but the HTC First has not fared well at AT&T, and it’s unclear whether a price cut has helped move the needle. Both HTC and AT&T have declined to comment on sales.

The staff departures were first reported earlier Tuesday by The Verge.

Though hardly alone in scaling back its presence at CTIA, HTC was much less visible at the show than in past years. The company opted to skip the show floor entirely, and instead had a small booth at the MobileFocus press event on Tuesday night, where it showed the HTC One and the intricate manufacturing process that goes into its unibody aluminum casing.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus