INQ Mobile founder and CEO Frank Meehan has left the company, Mobile understands. Ken Johnstone, who co-founded INQ with Meehan and is director of product and design, will take over as interim CEO with immediate effect.
Meehan will take on a consultancy role in technology ventures invested in by Sir Li Ka Shing, chairman of Hutchinson Whampoa, which owns INQ and UK mobile operator Three.
A statement by Hutchinson Whampoa Europe said: 'As a co-founder of INQ, Frank will of course be drawing on his continuing involvement in technology with our Group to contibute in a non-executive capacity to maintaining INQ's cutting edge leadership in mobile.'
The statement said that after 10 years with the company Ken Johnstone was well equipped to lead INQ into the next phase of its development, building on recent successes such as INQ's Social Suite on Android Market.
It continued: 'Ken and Robert Eckert, HWEL CFO, have been tasked with reviewing the business objectives, strategy, product portfolio and structure of INQ with a view to moving swiftly to the next stage of INQ's development, a task that should be completed in the next few weeks.'
Sources close to the company said that Johnstone commands great respect both within the company and among its suppliers and the wider industry, so his appointment has been welcomed. Johnstone’s strength is in product design, but he has a strong gasp of software too and the source said he is likely to bring a tighter and sharper product execution to the company.
Mobile understands that Johnstone will bring a clearer, more focused strategy to the company, which has faced a turbulent period recently thanks to the general state of the economy and the tough competitive environment within the mobile industry.
INQ is a fully owned subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa, which also owns UK operator Three, and was co-founded in 2008 by Frank Meehan, Ken Johnstone and marketing director Jeff Taylor, who left the company earlier this year. It was set up to provide mid-range mobile handsets with a strong focus on social media applications.
It’s latest release is the INQ Cloud Touch. Other handsets include the INQ Chat 3G, INQ Mini 3G and the INQ1. INQ has offices in the USA, Italy, India, Australia, Canada, China and Singapore, as well as the UK.