More turmoil at Motorola: Rick Osterloh is out, mobile operations split between business groups

by: Bogdan PetrovanMarch 18, 2016


Lenovo continues to break up and absorb the remnants of Motorola. The latest victim of the process is Rick Osterloh, the company veteran that ran Motorola since Dennis Woodside’s departure in February 2014.

“Rick Osterloh has decided to leave Motorola Mobility. His steady leadership since Lenovo’s acquisition is appreciated and Lenovo wishes him continued success in the future,” said Lenovo in a press release. Osterloh, who first came into the spotlight in 2013 when he was filmed holding the unreleased Moto X, has held the position of President of Motorola through the lengthy integration process of the legendary mobile maker into Lenovo.

Just last month, Osterloh said that there was “basically no change” between the way Motorola was doing things under Google and under Lenovo’s ownership. Now Rick Osterloh is out, with Aymar de Lencquesaing, former head of Lenovo North America, set to take his place starting April 1.

This is more than an executive shuffle. Lenovo’s mobile business will be reorganized and split between two business groups. The PC Group will be “realigned” as the PC & Smart Device Business Group, that will handle “PCs, detatchables, tablets, phablets, gaming and smart home products across Windows, Chrome and Android based products.” Note the interesting inclusion of phablets; it’s not clear what Lenovo understands by “phablet,”  but it looks like Lenovo is trying to separate product lines based on size, not platform or utility.

Meanwhile, the Mobile Business Group will be co-presided by Xudong Chen and Aymar de Lencquesaing, who will report to group CEO Yuanqing Yang. Chen will handle the China mobile operations, while de Lencquesaing will be in charge with international markets.

Canada-born Aymar de Lencquesaing joined Lenovo in 2013, after stints at Packard-Bell and Softbank among others. He took over leadership of the North American division in April 2015.

Motorola Moto X Play 2015 -19See also: Flashbacks and Forecasts: Motorola in 20168

Today’s announcement does not mention any of Lenovo’s mobile brands. After reports emerged in January that the brand Motorola will be phased out, Lenovo insisted that the change is a mere formalization of an older state of facts and that it will continue to release devices under the Moto brand. But if you had any doubts left that old Motorola is gone, this announcement should clear them.

Let us know your thoughts.

  • nebulaoperator

    I think that means Motorola mobile landscape should change and probably for the worse( quite different from what we see today) . Lenovo seems to be absorbing and dismantling Moto from within.

  • Abhijeet

    Bye Moto :(

  • Tony Tone

    That’s a shame to see an American Icon that’s been around forever be dismantled by a crap company.

    • Definitely not ruined. Back 10 years ago, Lenovo acquired IBM PC business. The ThinkPad is stronger than ever now under Lenovo. I hope this goes with Motorola as well.

      • BMG4ME

        I agree, it’s a shame that Rick is leaving but Lenovo is not a “crap company”. I feel qualified to say that since I worked there for a year after IBM sold us there, and even thought I was laid off, I still like the company and the products.

  • Diego

    Poor motorola.
    Lenovo is running them into the ground.
    And I was planning to buy a motorola as my next phone.

  • Scott Ricketts

    Well, shit.

  • Daniel Iriarte

    I hope lenovo understands their position in the US after what they have done and still doing to Motorola. It’s a shame indeed!

  • Motorola has deteriorated since being folded into Lenovo.
    One thing that made Motorola Android phones popular is that they are near stock Android and used to get quick updates.
    Motorola sitll has not updated the first Droid Turbo to Marshmallow, probably due to a lack of staff.

    • anonymous moto fan

      yea, still waiting for marshmallow on moto e 2nd gen 4g in the uk. might not ever get it because of lenovo. will miss osterloh being president

  • Gabriel Valle

    Well this sucks

  • Prime

    Nexus 6 is the last Motorola product I will ever buy. Do not want Lenovo products

  • patstar5

    I was looking forward to the next Moto x… Might just stick with oneplus and buy the OnePlus 3

  • Michael Allen

    I have had 4 Moto phones in a row but now that Lenovo has taken over it looks like to streak will end and I’ll just stick to whoever makes the Nexus for the year.

  • AbbyZFresh

    There’s no need for Moto in this landscape at this point, Nexus phones have become more diversified while Chinese OEMs have the cheap prices with higher specs.

  • King_Android

    Damn Motorola. You made my first cell phone. The Motorola StarTAC. Man that phone was a champ. And battery life was superb. You will be missed dearly as I have probably just traded in my last Motorola device. The Nexus 6 for the 6P.

  • Android123

    Am I the only one who’s who consistently uses the always listening voice command functions of the Moto X 2nd gen? From my understanding, the iPhone is the only other phone that copied it. What the hell can I do now? For me those Moto assist functions rule! S***! S***! S***!

  • Oliver Ward

    This is why i held off on buying a Moto X Play…..

  • Veteater

    I don’t know why people think they would be buying a “Lenovo” smartphone. Motorola has taken over mobile operations and they manufacture all Moto and Lenovo smartphones; they just won’t be marketed as Motorola. All I care is if Moto keeps two elements in their smartphone: 1. Near-stock Android. I think this may stay on Moto smartphones, just judging by the marshmallow update, and lenovo’s own Vibe UI. It has the features Eastern Asian people want but it is now closer to stock android. Motorola is not dead, their phones are just not called Motorola; as long as Moto keeps Moto maker and expands it the way that said they would, and keeps the near-stock Android with the minimal tweaks, I will get another Moto when I’m done with this Moto X Force. And do not worry guys, the person running Motorola now is from Canada; they really love the concept of the Moto smartphones over there. Even if Moto starts doing metal unibody smartphones, as long as they keep the near-stock Android and expand the Moto maker, or simply keep Moto maker the way it is, then Moto smartphones will be A-OK. Add a fingerprint scanner, like the competition has been using for over a year now, then that will be food as well.

    • Vinicius Lima Silva

      They really missed by not placing a fingerprint scanner on last year devices.

      • Veteater

        True dat ?

  • Chris Menon

    Motorola was a huge success, that seems to have been trampled on by Lenovo.

  • Ronald Sims

    I agree , although I don’t see the importance of a fingerprint scanner(retinal scanner are more of my fancy). Also, get someone like Nokia or or Sony to make a better camera. The one of the MXPE is a good step, but let’s build on that. Low light is a thing so step on it Moto. Going back to AMOLED is also good or do what LG is doing with their LCD panel. Really don’t care about USB-TYPE C, let just work on making Moto great again.