HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang will take over from Peter Chou as CEO of the Taiwanese phonemaker. Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC has replaced Peter Chou as chief executive, appointing his co-founder and board Chairwoman Cher Wang to the position, effective immediately. The move comes as HTC struggles to gain market share against competitors like Apple and Samsung.

Wang, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, was once named the "most powerful woman in wireless" by Forbes magazine.

HTC said Friday that the executive shuffle completes a process that was already underway, in which Wang was overseeing several aspects of the business while Chou was increasingly looking into new product development. Among the initiatives rolled out by HTC lately is the Vive virtual reality headset, unveiled at the recent Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain.

“We are seeing rapid changes in the industry, with the smartphone as our personal hub connecting us to a growing world of smart devices. We pioneered the smartphone industry; now we are applying that thinking to realize the potential of a new generation of connected products and services,” Wang said in a statement.

On Chou’s watch, HTC transformed from a white-label supplier to other brands to a global smartphone maker in its own right. While it doesn’t sell nearly as many handsets as Apple or Samsung, HTC makes several high-quality devices, including the One M9.

Chou will now head the HTC Future Development Lab, a role that formalizes his involvement in product development, leaving the broader business in Wang’s hands, the statement said.