Samsung Telecommunications America gets former Sprint exec to lead product

The former head of product at Sprint Nextel and present CEO of Amerilink Telecom, Kevin Packingham, has joined Samsung Telecommunications America as the multi-national company’s senior vice-president of product innovation.

The move comes as Samsung has become a leading player in the global market for smartphones and tablet computers these past years, and is increasingly in close competition with Apple and other top device makers.

Samsung’s flagship smartphone – the Samsung Galaxy S II has officially reached 10 million in global sales, and sales reports have not yet included the North American market. The device is the successor to the Samsung Galaxy S, touted as Android’s greatest selling device in its short history.

Sales has doubled from five million in just eight weeks. Samsung’s Mobile Communications Business President JK Shin said that since its launch in late April 2011, the Galaxy S II has seen continued sales success, demonstrating Samsung’s industry-leading capabilities in – and commitment to – the smartphone market. In just five months the Galaxy S II has seen tremendous growth, reflecting its tremendous popularity with customers around the world, who in selecting the Galaxy S II as their device of choice have driven the device’s strong market position globally.

“Clearly Samsung is a new industry leader in mobile technology,” said Packingham, 40, who is in the process of moving to Dallas for the new job. “It seems like a great opportunity to get involved with a tech company that will take us to the next generation of mobile technology.”

For Packingham, the new job represents a return to the cellular handset device industry, a well-regarded corporate executive who has spent the last year leading Amerilink Telecom, a telecommunications services firm that joined forces with Chinese equipment-maker Huawei Technologies in its unsuccessful bid to win part of a multi-billion telecom equipment contract at Sprint.

Packingham will replace Omar Khan, who left in July to lead mobile initiatives at Citigroup. At Sprint, where Packingham has worked from 2001 to 2010 and was a senior vice president of product and technology before resigning from the company, he headed the planning and development of the company’s flagship HTC Evo 4G phone and other similar handsets.

At Samsung, Packingham said in a press statement he would serve as the main interface between Samsung’s product development teams in South Korea and its wireless carrier partners in the U.S. mainland.  Packingham will report directly to president Dale Sohn and will be responsible for overseeing Samsung’s carrier product management, product planning and concept creation departments, the company said in a briefing.

“The initial charter will be product planning and working with mobile operators to serve their customers, and making sure we deliver and fulfill our promises to wireless carriers,” he said.

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