Nokia’s poaching of HTC’s EMEA president Florian Seiche (pictured) has been seen as a coup for the Finnish manufacturer. Seiche’s switch comes as trade sources have expressed doubts about HTC’s ability to turn its business around under a new structure.
Phillip Blair, who took over from the departed UK chief Phil Roberson last month, has been promoted to EMEA head. Industry experts warned taking on both roles would present Blair with ‘a huge challenge’, with some predicting HTC will be forced to bring another pair of hands on board. Blair co-founded HTC’s UK division with Seiche in 2005 and was formerly EMEA vice-president of product and operations. Seiche’s departure is the latest upheaval at HTC after it lost its UK sales and marketing chiefs.
One industry source said: ‘They are big jobs. HTC cannot expect one person to do that job, no matter how capable. This can only be an interim move, I would expect.’
One rival manufacturer said: ‘You cannot do both roles. This is a huge challenge. The UK is hard enough on its own. Most of the volume is in Europe and the demands of retailers quite relentless, particularly with HTC being short of products at the moment. A lot of people will be wanting to know if they can fulfill their needs.’
Many also expressed surprise at Seiche’s decision to leave HTC. One distributor said: ‘Florian is in the DNA of HTC. He set up the business in Europe. He was the jewel in HTC’s crown.’ Another said: ‘What it says is that Florian believes the future is with Nokia, not HTC. It’s a coup for Nokia, as he has fantastic contacts across Europe.’
Author: Carol Millett