HP hires former HTC exec, now overseeing Palm sales

Amid an exodus of former Palm employees, Hewlett-Packard is hoping a former HTC executive can help it rebuild Palm's anemic smartphone position.

Three weeks before it scooped up Palm for $1.2 billion in April, HP tapped Todd Achilles as its vice presdient of telco sales. Achilles is now in charge of running the combined HP and Palm sales teams for the Americas.

In 2005, Achilles led the Americas office of HTC, then a little-known Taiwanese handset maker best known for churning out Windows Mobile devices. At the tine, HTC was working to expand its position among U.S. carriers with gadgets like the T-Mobile Dash. Achilles left HTC in September 2007, just as the company was gearing up to produce the T-Mobile G1, the first phone running on Google's Android platform.

Achilles, as his name would suggest, has a warrior's task before him. He has to try and revitalize Palm's sales within HP while also contending with a large talent drain. Earlier this month Peter Skillman, who oversaw the design of the original Palm Pre, left HP. Skillman's departure followed those of Michael Abbott, Palm's senior vice president of software and services; Matias Duarte, senior director of human interface and user experience; Mike Bell, senior vice president of product development; and Lynn Fox, Palm's senior vice president of public relations, among others. Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein has been integrated into HP's business structure, and is still with the company.

HP has confirmed it will release a webOS-based tablet early next year, and Rubinstein said earlier this summer that Palm is aggressively working on new hardware.

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