Skott Ahn, President and CEO, LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company
What makes him powerful: Skott Ahn has worked more than 25 years at LG, and early on in his career he spent several years in the United States working in marketing sales positions--which may help explain LG's solid position in the North American market. According to Strategy Analytics, in the first quarter of this year, LG trailed only rival South Korean firm Samsung in terms of North American market share. Globally, LG is third, behind Nokia and Samsung, but Ahn has lofty goals: to be No. 2 worldwide in both handsets and smartphones by 2012.
How has Ahn, who has been the head of LG's handset division since 2007, guided LG to the point where he can make such a bold prediction? He rose through the ranks at LG, and in 2004 became executive vice president for LG's Mobile Handset R&D Center. He helped push LG into the UMTS and GSM markets, and has kept the company's handset division on an even keel. Not known for its flashy or innovative software, Ahn has established LG's prominence by quietly and methodically building a broad product portfolio.
In addition to popular hits, including the enV, Venus and Chocolate lines, LG also has remained focused on building low-end and mid-range phones to keep its volumes steady. The company is clearly dedicated to smartphones, and Windows Mobile in particular, but it has not lost sight of the fact that even while smartphones will be a key growth engine for the wireless industry going forward, they still make up a minority of the overall handset market.
Like Samsung, LG has developed close relationships with all of the Tier 1 wireless operators, especially Verizon Wireless. This tight integration gives LG wide distribution channels and clear brand recognition. It also gives Ahn a reason to be bold. --Phil