Motorola Mobility named company veteran Rick Osterloh as its new president and COO Wednesday ahead of Google's sale of the business to Lenovo in a $2.9 billion deal.
The move, Motorola and Lenovo partners say, sets the table for a strong transition of Motorola Mobility to Lenovo, automatically giving Lenovo strong leadership and mobile clout.
"I'm sure they're putting him in there to have an immediate impact on the business rather than just throw Motorola Mobility into another [Lenovo] division," said Tony Balistrieri, president of the western region of MCPc, a Cleveland-based solution provider and Lenovo partner.
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Osterloh replaces former Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside, who left in February to become COO of Dropbox.
Osterloh previously served as Motorola Mobility's senior vice president of products for nearly two years where he was responsible for the planning and strategy around Motorola Mobility products. Osterloh's background also includes stints at Skype as vice president of product management and design and at Good Technology from 2000 to 2007 as vice president of products and marketing.
The success of Lenovo's acquisition of Motorola Mobility will depend heavily on the two companies coming up with a strategy to immediately tackle the mobility market, Balistrieri said.
Douglas Grosfield, president and CEO of Xylotek Solutions, an Ontario-based solution provider and Motorola partner, said Osterloh's appointment is part of a larger Lenovo mobile strategy to line up its IT ducks and empower partners to go head-to-head with Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Samsung and Apple.
With Motorola Mobility, Lenovo will be able to leverage its capability with rounded-out offerings and allow Xylotek's cloud and infrastructure business to become a one-stop shop for clients, said Grosfield.
"They’ve had issues previously getting their Lenovo-branded smartphones to be sold in North America," said Grosfield. "Having one vendor is what a lot of customers find attractive."
"Lenovo has to sell the Motorola story," Balistrieri said. "They'll have to quickly pitch the accounts and the partners."
In a statement to CRN, Lenovo said it is eager to welcome Osterloh to the Lenovo family.
"Rick has a strong track record of success and delivering outstanding innovation for customers. He is a trusted, proven leader," said Liu Jun, executive vice president of the Mobile Business Group at Lenovo. "We're confident in his ability to not only manage a smooth transition at Motorola from Google to Lenovo, but also to lead the business forward for continued growth."
Osterloh will report to a Motorola operating board within Google until the Lenovo deal closes.
Lenovo's deal to purchase Google's Motorola Mobility smartphone business, unveiled in January, followed its $2.3 billion deal to acquire IBM's x86 server business the week before. Partners say the two moves will enable Lenovo to deliver an end-to-end strategy that starts with the smartphone and PC and goes all the way to the data center.
Both deals are expected to close later this year.
KATHY KIM AND JOSEPH F. KOVAR contributed to this story.
PUBLISHED APRIL 10, 2014