Industry veteran John Homlish has been tapped to head a newly created CE unit for China’s Haier Group covering the U.S. and Canada.
The new TV entity, Haier Digital Products Group, will emerge from what had been Haier America, and will operate under Haier America Trading LLC, a Haier Group holding.
The new organization, and Homlish’s role as its president, both become official on Jan. 1.
The move follows the rapid integration of Haier America’s white-goods business into GE Appliances just months after its acquisition by Qingdao Haier last June.
Homlish, a former home electronics VP at Sharp and executive VP at Casio America, joined Haier America nearly four years ago to run its TV business.
The new operation will be completely independent of GE “and will allow a single focus on consumer electronics,” he told TWICE.
Homlish has assembled a revamped team to help manage Haier Digital Products Group, including product marketing senior VP Bruce Fairchild and North America sales VP Paul Norton, and has recruited former Haier America staffers to perform back-office functions like logistics, service and IT support. He said the transition will be seamless for retail customers and consumers, and that the new organization will remain in its current Wayne, N.J., headquarters offices at least through 2017.
Going forward, Homlish plans to continue Haier’s role as a value brand serving the independent retail channel, but beginning in 2017 will expand the company’s focus with mid-tier step-up products and an eye toward new distribution channels.
He said Haier’s support of independent dealers and their buying groups will remain steadfast, and that the company has already demonstrated its ability to manage multiple channels harmoniously through its robust relationship with Costco Canada.
Haier’s new product lineup is comprised of 4K UHD TVs in 43- to 75-inch screen sizes, plus a 32-inch 1080p model. There are no immediate plans for ancillary products, whether sourced from Qindao Haier or a third party, although Homlish acknowledged that “Smart home is a category you can’t ignore.”
More immediately, Haier Digital Products Group will be represented at CES within the Haier Group booth (LVCC, Central Hall, #15029), where it will share exhibit space with sister company GE.
There, Homlish plans to announce a “global partnership” in technology that will get the days-old business off to a good start.