Power 50 Profile: Jon French, VP of sales and operations, EMEA, HTC
The question on most manufacturer’s lips over the last year has been: ‘Why does everyone in the trade love HTC?’ Cynics would point to the desperation of retailers and operators to build up a brand that isn’t Apple. But a big part of the positivity towards HTC has been because of its attitude. It appears to come from CEO Peter Chou, but is also epitomised by French. His apprenticeship at Samsung has given him a discipline and drive to take on bigger companies and grow share. Retailers and operators say he surprises many with his clichéd 'can do attitude'. HTC's rise in the UK at a time of unprecedented competition has dazzled the industry, as has its virtual flawless execution – it is difficult to identify where HTC is making mistakes as a new entrant growing its share in a mature and complex market. French’s promotion into a VP for EMEA role in recent months could be attributed to HTC growing its share of the UK market. But it has as much to do with French’s willingness to try new ideas and approaches and question perceived wisdoms.
French has made massive steps after leaving Samsung and taking over at HTC, where he is really calling the shots. He is seen as someone with great vision and is not scared of trying new things, someone who will really engage with new ideas. HTC now has the products, but in the UK it needs to raise its brand awareness and widen its distribution channels. French is credited with working very hard to open up distribution channels and helping to enthuse retail storemanagers about the HTC brand. It may still be relatively early days yet, but French is seen as a very refreshing to deal with and someone who may make HTC a brand to challenge the old guard in the UK.