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Jon French departs HMD as firm consolidates European leadership

Manny Pham
February 12, 2019

Industry veteran French was with the Nokia-brand-reviving vendor for almost two years

HMD Global vice president of Western Europe Jon French has stepped down as the vendor consolidates its European operation under Global Head of Sales/Head of Europe & MENA Per Ekman.

Industry veteran French was with the Nokia-brand-reviving vendor for almost two years, having left in December last year. During his time there, HMD Global was the third-highest-selling smartphone maker in the UK for Q4 2017, according to Counterpoint Research.

French founded Valen Consulting to advise technology brands in the EMEA region. He has more than 20 years of experience in handset manufacturing. He joined HMD from Microsoft following a four-and-a-half year stint, where he was vice president for the Middle East, Asia and Africa, as well as general manager of Asia Pacific.

Prior to that, he had spent four-and-a-half years at HTC in a number of leadership roles, including as UK and Ireland executive director and vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

He had originally joined Nokia in 1997 and then spent six years as UK general manager of Samsung from 2002.

Humble beginnings
French told Mobile News“HMD has come from humble beginning to being one of the largest mobile manufacturers in Western Europe in two years. I wish them all the very best and that it continues on with its success.”

At the same time, HMD has appointed Eric Matthes, who joins from HTC as general manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Matthes joined HTC in 2007 and held a variety of management roles such as head of retail and distribution, as well as specialising in managing the Germany, Austria and Switzerland regions.

He departed as vice president of Western Europe and B2B for HTC Vive. 

Strategic moves
HMD Global said in a statement: “Entering our third year, we have made strategic moves to help ensure continued growth across all key regions and focus areas.

“To better align with our main market focus, we have consolidated leadership of the entire European region under Per Ekman who previously led our business in the Middle East and North Africa.

“As Sebastian Ulrich moves into the role of Global Head of B2B Sales & Marketing, Eric Matthes will step in to manage the DACH region.”

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