This time last summer, Fred Liu and Ben Ho were still stepping up to higher ranks within HTC to fill the void left by departing top-level executives. Now, according to a Bloomberg report, they're emulating their predecessors by also resigning from their roles. Liu had been HTC's president of engineering and operations since replacing Matthew Costello in June 2013 whereas Ben Ho managed the company's marketing efforts since late 2012. Ho, in particular, has been prominent in communicating HTC's long-term plans to worried investors and analysts, and his job hasn't been made easy by a continuous exodus of high-ranking HTC officials.
Sources say these resignations are a case of "being fired in a nice way"
Although Ho was placed in a tough situation by HTC's shrinking sales and protracted malaise, the company's greatest weakness during his tenure remained its marketing. Engadget adds to Bloomberg's information by noting that the failure of an expensive ad campaign featuring Robert Downey Jr. last year contributed to Ho's demise. Both Ho and Liu are expected to remain in their roles for a few more months, but the upheaval at HTC looks set to continue, having been resumed earlier this year by the unexpected departure of chief designer Scott Croyle in April.
Update 9:35AM ET: Speaking with sources familiar with HTC's operations, we have been told that the two departing members of staff are being "fired in a nice way" rather than resigning. Fred Liu has already been stripped of most of his oversight duties, while Ben Ho has apparently been "out of the picture for months." By the time HTC hired Samsung's Paul Golden as a consultant to assist with its marketing efforts, Ho was already in the process of gradually stepping down his responsibilities in preparation for leaving the company.
Update July 31, 7:30AM ET: Alongside its latest official earnings report, HTC has confirmed that Fred Liu will be vacating his position and moving to a new role as Managing Director overseeing Emerging Products, Service, Manufacturing and IT.