Motorola Mobility is the latest manufacturer to undergo major staff changes following the departure of its UK and Ireland General Manager Nick Muir, Mobile can exclusively reveal.
Motorola confirmed that Muir’s replacement would be former Lenovo employee Miles Norman. The news comes a week after Sony announced that its president for North West Europe, Pierre Perron, would be leaving.
The reasons behind Muir’s departure are currently unknown, but numerous sources told
Mobile that Motorola had a ‘fire sale’ of devices last quarter and that the Apple Watch had taken a big chunk out of sales figures for the brand’s popular Moto 360 wearable device.
Responding to these claims, a Motorola spokesperson told Mobile: ‘Motorola held a spring sale recently on its e-commerce site to herald the arrival of the new season – similar sales are held periodically around these seasonal calendar events. Although we cannot comment on specific sales figures, we can confirm that the Moto 360 is performing well in the market, and we welcome the increasing awareness of the wearables market.’
Muir’s replacement at Motorola, Miles Norman, has been the head of telco at Lenovo – Motorola’s parent company – for the past two years. Norman also worked for Motorola Mobility from 2003 to 2009 before moving to a senior role at HP. Muir’s departure follows an announcement from Lenovo that the leader of its Mobile Business Group, Liu Jin, would be stepping down, although the two moves are not believed to be connected.
Chen Xudong replaces Liu Jun as executive VP of MBG and chairman of Motorola Mobility, with Jun taking up a role as special consultant to the CEO on mobile business and strategy for ‘a certain period of time’.
Lenovo said that Jun had ‘built the mobile business’ that begun four years ago and led the company to purchase Motorola Mobility from Google last year, becoming the third-largest smartphone player.
The brand reported an increase in mobile revenue from 12% to 25% year-on-year for 2015, with the company’s smartphone businesses with Motorola accounting for 41% of shipments, compared with 11% a year ago.
Ben Wood of CCS Insight believes that Muir’s departure is a by-product of Lenovo’s takeover of Motorola: ‘It’s totally unsurprising; the bottom line is that when Lenovo acquired Motorola there were always going to be changes. The business will be working out how it structures the operations in the UK, and in other markets how it will be using Lenovo’s assets, which often leads to changes.
'Nick leaving is a big loss, but when businesses come together it’s not uncommon for people to get squeezed out.
‘In the UK market Motorola still resonates well with consumers, particularly older ones. With Nokia leaving the market there is an opportunity for Motorola to attract this type of buyer. There is a real opportunity to take advantage of this because the brand still has legs.
‘The broader context of the UK market is that Apple is dominant – an unbelievable proportion of users now have iPhones, leaving little for other manufacturers to compete for. That segment is really competitive, especially as the likes of Samsung are spending big.’