LG Electronics has announced a major reshuffle of its top brass, including the appointment of a new head of the company’s mobile division that could signal a bold shift in its smartphone strategy.
The biggest news on the mobile front is the appointment of Hwang Jeong-hwan as the president and CEO of the LG Mobile Communications Company. Hwang replaces the departing Juno Cho who will take up a new role within the South Korean giant’s parent company.
Hwang appears to be moving over from LG’s Home Entertainment business where he acted as the head of research and development this year. LG’s official statement also notes that Hwang’s history with R&D stretches back for many years, including within the company’s early smartphone business.
According to the press release, Hwang was “closely involved” in the development of one of LG’s first ever smartphones. While LG doesn’t name said phone, there’s a good chance it’s the LG GW620 (also known as the LG Eve or LG InTouch Max), a QWERTY and touchscreen-sporting device that launched in late 2009 running Android Cupcake.
The appointment is an interesting move from LG given that Hwang’s background is filled with creative roles rather than sales-focused positions, especially considering the firm’s current financial predicament.
As a company, LG’s revenue is on the rise, with particular success coming from the home appliance and home entertainment divisions. Things are far less rosy over in the mobile division, however. LG posted an operating loss in Q3 2017 to the tune of $331.17 million. This isn’t a new trend either. LG has only shown quarterly profits twice within the last two calendar years.
Bringing in a key player and innovator from one of the company’s most successful divisions suggests that LG has had enough of lagging behind its rivals in the mobile sector, particularly its close neighbor, Samsung.
How will this impact LG’s devices going forward? It’s too early to tell at this stage, but if LG’s refreshed mobile division can deliver phones that match the standard of its TVs and home audio hardware – something the LG V30 attempted nobly – it could find itself back in the black in the near future.