The man responsible for the overall design and feel of HTC smartphones over the last 5 years has left the company for personal reasons. 

The news, which is likely to have a massive impact on the Taiwanese company in the coming months, will see the company's VP of design, Scott Croyle, taking over the top spot from Horace Luke.  

"Horace Luke, HTC’s chief innovation officer, has left HTC for personal reasons," HTC confirmed in a statement to Pocket-lint. "Horace nurtured a culture of innovation at HTC and instilled a strong consumer design-focus among our employees who continue to raise the bar in designing products that capture our customers’ imagination. We are grateful for Horace’s many contributions to HTC and wish him well in his future endeavours."

Luke has been one of the biggest driving forces at HTC and credited, by himself, with changing the company from a small white label handset maker for operators like O2 and Orange, to the massive brand that it is today. 

“I came to HTC with three big goals, to create something new out of something that has potential, prove that I could attract global talent and change a culture, and create products that truly change people’s lives. I think I’ve achieved that,” Luke told us in an interview in November 2010.

“I get involved in every detail of the product. Every detail. It doesn’t matter if it's software, online strategy, branding, industrial design, I sweat every detail,” Luke added at the time.

In the past couple of months HTC has launched the HTC Flyer, the HTC EVO 3D, and the HTC Sensation. 

HTC has said that he will be replaced by Scott Croyle, HTC’s vice president of design who until now has headed up the company's design agency One & Co in San Francisco.  

Check out our extensive interviews with Horace Luke and Scott Croyle from November 2010