Unless you’ve been under a rock all morning—or don’t care too much about the “inside baseball” business news of tech companies—HTC appointed co-founder Cher Wang as its new CEO. Before we get into whether this is a smart move on the company’s part, let’s get to know Wang a little better.
She’s spent a lot of time in the Bay Area
Wang studied abroad at The College Preparatory School in Oakland, Calif. and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1981 with a degree in economics.
She’s started quite a few companies
Not only did Wang help start HTC in 1997, but she also helped found the motherboard and processor company VIA in 1987. It’s still the world’s largest independent manufacturer of motherboard chipsets and her husband is the CEO. Her Bloomberg profile states that she was also the driving force behind First International Computer (FIC)’s entry into the motherboard space. She’s also helped establish a number of other successful IT-related businesses.
She serves as a Chairperson for several companies
Wang currently serves as the Chairwoman of HTC America, as well as the Acting Chairperson of its parent company, High Tech Computer (HTC) Corporation. She’s an Acting Chairperson at VIA Technologies, too. There’s no word on whether this will change because of her new position.
She’s a philanthropist
In 2011, Wang donated $28 million to the Guizhou Forerunner College, a charitable college in southwest China. The not-for-profit institution helps helps provide three years of free or low-cost education to students from low-income families.
Wang has also made significant donations to her alma mater, including funding to support one particular prestigious award given to researchers who make considerable contributions to the world of condensed-matter physics. She’s also donated to the psychology departments at both UC Berkeley and Tsinghua University in Beijing, and in 2012, she provided 6,000 HTC Flyer tablets to 60 high schools in Taipei.
She’s the 54th most powerful woman in the world
According to Forbes, at least, which also gave her title of Most Powerful Woman in Wireless in 2011. CNBC also named Wang one of the 25 people to have the most profound impact on business and finance since 1989.
She could do a lot for HTC
I don’t know what exactly went on between executives, or why Peter Chou was swapped out for Wang. HTC claims that Wang became “increasingly involved in the running of various aspects of the business,” so it seems like it was a natural move.
Still, I think that this is a good move for HTC. Wang has been a longtime proponent of expanding HTC’s business beyond smartphones. In 2011, she’d mentioned that she hoped the company could be more than just a phone maker. That plan seems to be underway, as HTC is now trying its hand within the gaming, photography, and fitness industries, with more non-phone products to come. Wang’s financial chops and rampant optimism may finally help the Taiwan-based company stay on the upswing.