Executive Exodus Continues at Motorola

The revolving door brings in a new treasurer and a new European mobile devices chief. 

Two more executives have left troubled Motorola, with Larry R. Raymond replacing treasurer Steve Strobel and Stephen Nolan taking over for Mike Fenger as the head of the company's mobile devices group in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Since Greg Brown took over from Ed Zander as CEO in January, Motorola has brought in new executives to lead its finance, human resources and technology divisions.

"The recent leadership changes are part of an overall plan to swiftly transform the senior executive team," Motorola said in a statement March 16.

Raymond moves to Motorola from Sears, Roebuck and Co., where he served as Sears' vice president and treasurer. Nolan moves up from Motorola's vice president of sales for Continental Europe, which encompasses Germany, Benelux, Austria, France, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Under Zander, Motorola slipped from No. 2 to No. 3 among the dominant handset makers. Nokia and Samsung are now the top two handset manufacturers. Since Motorola's mobile devices division represents about half of Motorola's sales, flattening RAZR sales and the lack of a successful follow-up spelled doom for Zander.

To offset the sales losses, Motorola began a price war in 2007 with market leader Nokia, a move that hurt Motorola's profits and left it with a lot of unsold inventory. Motorola announced in January another sharp decline in mobile handset sales, resulting in an 84 percent drop in fourth-quarter net income.

The company said it shipped 40.9 million handset units in the fourth quarter, a dramatic drop from the 65.7 million units shipped a year ago.

The struggles at Motorola have prompted billionaire investor Carl Icahn to raise his stake in the company to 6.3 percent. Icahn has said Motorola would be better off by selling its struggling mobile phone division and is pushing for four new board members who are friendly to his interests. Last year he failed to gain a seat on the Motorola board.

Zander's resignation did little to please Ichan, who said in December Motorola should be split into four separate companies focusing on mobile devices, enterprise mobility, connected homes and mobile networks infrastructure.

Motorola announced in February it was "exploring ways in which our Mobile Devices Business can accelerate its recovery and retain and attract talent while enabling our shareholders to realize the value of a great franchise."

Icahn has preached for months that Motorola needs to dump its handset unit. He said the company "is finally moving in the right direction, but certainly still has a long way to go."