Samsung VP Gavin Kim departs to lead Microsoft’s Windows Phone product management

Samsung’s vice president of consumer and enterprise services Gavin Kim has left the company to join Microsoft as general manager of the Windows Phone team, BGR has exclusively learned. Kim will have a direct impact on the future success of the Windows Phone platform. “I will be responsible to help set the future direction for the Windows Phone platform and to accelerate Microsoft’s trajectory to win the hearts and minds of consumers, carriers, device manufacturers, developers and partners,” Kim told BGR. “In my experience, there is an already fervent base of Windows Phone supporters out there and they all get it. They are passionate, and already very vocal about it … so, it is really my new job to make sure we reflect that message clearly in our product and marketing collaborations with all of our partners to create more Windows Phone believers.” Updated with statement from Samsung Mobile.

At Samsung, Kim was a key figure on the executive team, working closely with the former chief technology officer Omar Khan. He was typically present at the company’s mobile launches, helping to introduce new products and services to the world. He most recently worked on content and services related to the launches of Samsung’s Galaxy products, including recent products such as the Galaxy S II and Galaxy Tab 8.9/10.1, but discussed with BGR his excitement for the move to Microsoft.

“I see this as an amazing opportunity to work with industry talents like Andy Lees, Chris Capossela, Terry Myerson, Joe Belfiore, Achim Berg, and others, to build on their incredible successes and continue to move the ball forward here in the US and globally,” he explained. “I anticipate I’m going to learn a lot from them, and I hope to equally contribute my experience back.”

Having been instrumental to the success of a number of products during his tenure at Samsung, this is a huge score for Microsoft, which is preparing a big push for its second-generation Windows Phone OS, Mango. Kim clearly has faith in the product, and equally as important, he believes Microsoft has the talent to succeed. “I believe the success and failure of any team has a lot to do with chemistry and potential… not too different than dating to some extent,” the executive told us. “The fact that I’ve chosen to join the team means we get along well, we believe in each other’s capabilities, and we share a common vision, attitude, and belief about the products and partnerships that the team is creating. And, probably most importantly, we all want to win.”

Kim said he will work to make Windows Phone a top choice among consumers. “Each time a consumer goes to buy a smartphone from a carrier or retail store, Windows Phone has to be on their short list. And, with the Windows Phone 7.5 release, I think Microsoft is closing the gap rapidly and removing all doubt about their place in mobile.”

Kim will assume his new position in the next few weeks and will move to Seattle with his wife and daughter. “Samsung has a very bright future ahead of itself,” Kim said. “They have brought to market fantastic products, have a coveted technology innovation pipeline, and are committed to bringing these innovations to consumers across a vast consumer electronics portfolio. There is a tremendous amount of synergy between Microsoft and Samsung and the relationship between the companies will only continue to grow stronger and more collaborative over time.”

When asked to comment, Samsung issued the following statement to BGR via email: “Gavin Kim has departed Samsung Mobile and we look forward to working with him in the future,” Samsung Mobile told BGR. “In his new capacity, he will continue to be part of the larger Samsung family through our partnership with Microsoft.”

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