HTC loses high-profile local exec Petts


Smartphone giant HTC has lost its highest-profile Australian executive to Motorola, just weeks before the flagship Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, at which the company is expected to make further announcements about new handsets to arrive in 2011.

The Taiwanese company’s top local executive is country manager for Australia and New Zealand Ben Hodgson, who joined the company from handset distributor Brightstar in August last year. However, for the past several years it has been sales and marketing director Anthony Petts, who was HTC’s top local executive until Hodgson’s appointment, that has been its public face in Australia, fielding questions about the company’s range at press conferences and cutting deals in the market.

This morning, HTC confirmed a SmartHouse report that Petts had departed the company. “After two and half years with HTC, Anthony Petts has decided to pursue the next milestone in his career and we wish him every success,” a spokesperson said.

Petts’ LinkedIn profile noted his new position was strategic sales director at Motorola’s Mobility division in Australia — he joined the company in January 2011 after two and a half years with HTC. He previously held senior roles at Ericsson, Vodafone and other companies — and even worked for Motorola as an account manager and project engineer as far back as January 1992.

The news comes as Motorola has recently been revealing plans to push hard against rivals like HTC, which — along with Samsung — has stolen an early march on Australia’s smartphone market in the Android space.

In December last year Motorola launched its Milestone 2 handset in Australia, and at the CES conference in the United States several weeks ago, the company won praise for its fledgling Xoom tablet, which is the first known device to use version 3.0 of Google’s Android platform — also known as ‘Honeycomb’.

Motorola has not yet confirmed any plans to bring the device to Australia, but if the Xoom does land Down Under, it will go into direct competition with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, which launched late in 2010, and Apple’s iPad, which has been selling like hotcakes locally. Motorola also revealed its innovative new Atrix 4G handset at CES, which attracted attention due to its ability to, with the aid of a desktop cradle, function as a smartphone, laptop, desktop PC and even set-top box.

In comparison, HTC — which kicked off the Australian Android revolution its HTC Desire handset in the first half of 2010 — has not yet confirmed plans to launch its own tablet device.

Image credit: HTC