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Exec Changes Shake Up Key Vendors

Busy week for mobile execs as HP's webOS head gets reassigned, Samsung's mobile chief moves on, Apple's patent expert resigns and Qualcomm gets a new CTO

Sarah Thomas

July 12, 2011

2 Min Read
Exec Changes Shake Up Key Vendors

It's been a busy start to the week for a number of companies making senior wireless-related executive changes.

In the past 48 hours Samsung Corp. , HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) have all had a changing of the guard for some of their highest-level positions.

  • Samsung CTO and the head of its mobile strategy, Omar Khan, is leaving the company after heading up Samsung's product strategy in the U.S. for the past three years. Samsung would not confirm Khan's next move, only noting he's not going to a competitor. But a letter from Khan sent to The Droid Guy suggests he's heading to Citigroup to lead its mobile solutions business.

    Khan's responsibilities will be taken on by product marketing executive Tim Rowden and other team players.

  • Just days after HP's TouchPad tablet hit stores with lackluster reviews, the company is swapping the roles of two of its key wireless executives. Jon Rubinstein, former CEO of Palm Inc. and current head of HP's webOS initiatives, is moving to the Personal Systems Group (PSG), where he will lead product innovation. Stephen DeWitt, former head of the PSG, will become senior VP of HP's webOS, which has officially rid itself of the Palm moniker. (See HP TouchPad Success Hangs on Apps and HP Open to 'Special' webOS Partners.)

  • Apple is losing its patent chief lawyer, according to Reuters, which reports that Richard Lutton is leaving the company for unspecified reasons.

    If Lutton is indeed leaving, he's checking out just as Apple is wrapped up in numerous lawsuits with competitors across the globe. (See Samsung Tries to Block Apple Sales in the US and Apple Sues Samsung for iCopying.)

    But it's not like there isn't somebody else to pick up the slack. Reuters also notes that the wonderfully named BJ Watrous, formerly HP's chief of intellectual property and licensing, lists "VP and Chief IP Counsel" at Apple on his LinkedIn Corp. profile. Go find him -- he only has 105 connections as of today, so he could do with some requests.

  • Qualcomm named a new CTO Tuesday. Current SVP and 20-year Qualcomm veteran Matt Grob was appointed EVP and CTO, replacing Roberto Padovani, who will stay on the board as EVP in charge of research and development. According to the company, Grob will continue to focus on technologies such as augmented reality, peer-to-peer, wireless charging and processor and applications enhancements. (See Qualcomm's Snapdragon Spreads Its Wings.) — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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