updated 07:35 am EDT, Tue April 17, 2012
HTC ditches CFO, shares dip 6 percent
HTC has moved to appoint a new CFO after his predecessor was ousted from the position after just one year. Highlighting troubles at the Taiwanese handset manufacturer, Winston Yung has been moved into a undefined role in corporate development and has been replaced by Chia-Lin Chang. Yung was behind the somewhat controversial decision to purchase Beats Audio for $300 milllion, which has failed to raise the image of the brand or attract customers.
Following the news, HTC's shares dropped another 6 percent as investors become increasingly concerned that HTC may not be able to turn around its sudden decline in fortunes with profits slumping 70 percent in the last quarter. The dumping of its former CFO also comes just ahead of Samsung's eagerly awaited Galaxy S III, which has now been locked in for a May 3 launch. Although its new One X line of smartphones have been well-received critically, the line has not generated the buzz that Samsung's next smartphone hero phone has been getting.
It is also likely that many of the more tech-savvy Android buyers are holding off on purchasing the HTC One X, waiting to see what Samsung has to offer before committing to one model or the other. The HTC One X variant powered not by the quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3, but the dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 is currently the performance leader among Android handsets. However, Samsung's forthcoming S III may sport a quad-core Samsung Exynos 4412 processor that could still take the performance crown.
If Samsung delivers its third consecutive killer-device, it could spell further trouble for HTC despite potentially having a highly competitive alternative offering. Currently, the market momentum as switched away from HTC, once the Android leader, and is now firmly behind Samsung. Switching to a new CFO is thought to signal that company could be facing further challenges than may be immediately apparent. Tom Tang, a VP with Masterlink Investment Advisory, suggested that "when a company changes its CFO, if often indicates that the company's operation or financials have reached a bottleneck." [via Reuters]