HTC UK in turmoil following senior exits

HTC’s UK head of marketing James Atkins and UK head of sales Michael Coombes have joined UK chief Phil Roberson in leaving the company just days before the launch of its biggest ever marketing campaign to promote the launch of the new One flagship handset.

The new HTC One phone.
The new HTC One phone.

It has emerged Atkins and Coombes have left the business just days after the Taiwanese mobile manufacturer announced EMEA co-founder Philip Blair was to take over from the departing Roberson to lead the company’s UK and Ireland division.

An HTC spokesman would not confirm whether Atkins and Coombes will be directly replaced or whether they have jobs to go to, when asked by Marketing Week. It is understood HTC’s senior UK marketing manager Gaelle Walton is assuming some of Atkins’ responsibilities in the interim.

HTC is set to change marketing tack from looking to appeal to the mass market to build brand preference among younger consumers.

Speaking to Marketing Week last month at the launch of the One handset, Atkins said the company will look to “own the conversation” on social media and with strategic media buys to cut through in the busy mobile market place.

Atkins joined HTC in 2011 from Freesat, where he was commercial marketing manager. Since then he has overseen several marketing campaigns around its “One” series of handsets and oversaw the UK and Ireland activation of the brand’s sponsorships of the UEFA Champions League and the MOBO Awards.

Coombes also joined HTC in 2011 from Nokia, where he was responsible for the company’s EE account.

The departures also come just days after it emerged rival Samsung’s UK corporate marketing director Andrew Garrihy had left the company after his role was made redundant.

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