Roku Replaces Hardware Chief Smith With Former Turkish Naval Officer

TV tech industry veteran will oversee retail sales and partnerships for company’s OTT hardware products
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Roku has announced the hiring of Mustafa Ozgen as senior VP and general manager of account acquisition.

Ozgen, who arrives from U.K. tech startup SmartKem, will replace Chas Smith, GM and senior VP of Roku TV and player, who oversaw retail sales and partnerships for the company’s line of hardware products. Smith, 58, is retiring from the company at the end of the first quarter.

For Los Gatos, Calif.-based Roku, it’s a pivotal movement in the hardware realm. Although the company now makes more of its bones through ad sales on its platform, the health of that business relies on wide and growing distribution of the Roku ecosystem. Roku was an early leader in deploying its user interface on smart TVs, which is turning out to be the most proliferate way for OTT platforms to expand distribution. But lately, powerful opponents like Apple have entered the fray.

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“Account growth is a top priority for us—both in placing our great Roku devices in the hands of consumers and further scaling our Roku TV licensing business,” said Anthony Wood, Roku founder and CEO, in a statement. “Mustafa brings a wealth of leadership experience and global TV industry knowledge which makes him well suited to spearhead our mission to make the Roku platform widely used around the world.”

Formerly a commissioned Turkish Navy officer, Mustafa has a 20-year technology background. Notable stops include MIT spin-off QD Vision, for which he served as CEO. QD Vision was acquired by Samsung Electronics to enable its QLED-branded television displays.

“Roku is one of the most beloved companies in TV entertainment, and has built incredible momentum,” Ozgen said. “I’m honored to join the team, and I look forward to connecting consumers with Roku devices as we drive further scale of the Roku platform.”

Roku recently announced that it now has 27 million active user accounts. The company reports fourth quarter earnings on February 24. 

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