David Keene– LG has been on something of a tear in the digital signage market recently. With the news today that Jeff Dowell has left LG, that is not likely to slow down. It’s just another round of change at a large display manufacturer that almost always points to that company’s success in the market, not the opposite. The fact is, the sales ambitions (and quotas) self-imposed by these companies leads to fairly frequent turnover at the top. Russ Young left Samsung earlier this year (going to SapientNitro as its Director of Alliances for Digital Merchandising)– again, not much food for blogger thought. Companies of this size are so aggressively after flat panel market share that the vision of any one marketing leader always is interpreted through quarter by quarter numbers. It’s not good or bad– it is what it is. And guys like Russ, and Jeff– well, if you have not been fired (at least once) by a manufacturer of that size, you really don’t have a complete CV as a leader, a person willing to take risks, do you? And anyone who would bet against this kind of business model (abrupt and seemingly fairly frequent turnover at the top) or pontificate about the week-to-week or month-to-month vagaries in the C-rooms at any of these HQ’s– don’t quit your day job. The big manufacturers on these kinds of a roll, don't think there's not a method to it all.
As I reported just last December, LG Electronics implemented a corporate restructuring that saw the elimination of one of its five business operations. But the move, for which the term “elimination” was perhaps misleading, did not alter LG’s position in the digital signage market, a position that has been increasing, not decreasing, in recent months as LG has launched a variety of new products including its new SuperSign Elite, and SuperSign Premier-s software/hardware packages for digital signage for both the SMB, and enterprise segments.
LG “dissolved” its business solutions unit as part of the restructuring effort last December. The business solutions division had produced flat-screen display products for corporate customers and automakers. Flat-screen monitors, that had been part of the division, will be moved into the remaining home entertainment division. The four remaining business divisions include home appliance, air-conditioning and energy solutions, home entertainment, and mobile communications. Today’s news is really just an extension of this retooling as management attempts to fine tune a very ambitious program.
In informal discussions with LG today, I learned that all the programs Jeff Dowell was sheparding, will continue unabated. John Sheehan, who has been Director of Digital Signage at LG for about a year (he came from NEC before that), will lead that effort, and John will now report directly to Y.K. Chom, head of the U.S. Commercial Displays business since last December.
I’d conclude, with Dan Smith now a key part of the LG team, as of mid-last year, I’d only look for more interesting developments from LG going forward (Dan came from Magenta before that, but Dan put in several years at Samsung to hone his marketing and sales chops… need I say more?)