Could Fitbit's new high profile hiring lead to a new direction?

Fitbit is hiring Jonah Becker as its vice president of industrial design following his departure from Taiwanese smartphone vendor HTC.

The position has been created for Becker, who will report directly to Fitbit CEO James Park.

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The appointment could result in some significant changes for Fitbit, particular from an aesthetic point of view. Becker was responsible for the design of HTC’s flagship range of smartphones, including the recently released HTC One M9, which has largely been praised for its look and feel.

Prior to joining HTC Becker was a partner at design company One & Co., which was acquired by HTC back in 2009. While employed at One & Co. Becker worked with a number of high-profile sports brands, including Adidas, K2 Sports, The North Face and Nike.

Fitbit’s decision to recruit new talent to its business is likely to be driven by the increasingly competitive nature of the wearables industry. Aside from traditional sports brands, the likes of Garmin, Sony and many other technology firms have also developed fitness-centric wearables of their own. The Apple Watch, which is due to launch later this month, will provide further competition, but could also lead to an explosion in the uptake of wearable devices.

One of Fitbit’s main competitors, Jawbone, employs Swiss designer Yves Behar to oversee its creative output, so perhaps the appointment of Becker signals Fitbit’s attempt to go head-to-head with its rival in design terms.

Fitbit has not yet commented on the hiring, but Becker’s departure is certainly unfortunate for HTC. Becker had been at the Taiwanese company for less than two years and his predecessor as chief designer Scott Croyle left his post last April.

Read more: HTC One M9+ launched

It all adds up to an unsteady atmosphere at HTC, which also announced that its long-time CEO Peter Chou is soon to be replaced by company chairwoman Cher Wang.