Seventh senior departure of 2013 signals more woe for HTC

HTC's troubles continue with news that its chief operating officer, Matthew Costello, is stepping down amidst slumping sales.

A company spokesman confirmed the reports, adding that Fred Liu, president of engineering and operations, will be taking over the COO role, in addition to responsibilities that include operations, quality, sales operations, and services.

According to Bloomberg, Costello will stay with HTC, and move to Europe to become an executive advisor. HTC did not immediately comment on Costello's move.

This marks the seventh HTC executive to fly the coop since the beginning of the year. According to The Verge, the May departure of Asia CEO Lennard Hoornik and Kouji Kodera, chief product officer, were the latest in a slew of employee losses, including Jason Gordon, vice president of global communications; Rebecca Rowland, global retail marketing manager; John Starkweather, director of digital marketing, and Eric Lin, product strategy manager.

In its first-quarter earnings report, HTC posted $2.82 million (£1.84 million) in earnings on $1.42 billion (£930 million) in revenue, its lowest quarterly profit on record. The company is looking to its flagship HTC One, released in April, to help turn things around in a smartphone market where Samsung and Apple rule.

HTC's revamped handset includes a 4.7in full HD 1080p display, 1.7-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, and HTC Sense. But a reported shortage of metal casings and camera parts, as well as other components, slowed production, pushing its release back a month.

Meanwhile, the HTC First smartphone, which comes pre-loaded with Facebook Home, has been struggling. After an initial launch in the US, EE confirmed that consumer interest in the device was so slow that the phone would not go on sale here in the UK.