Google's Motorola Purchase Complete, Dennis Woodside Named CEO

Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola is complete, and longtime Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha has stepped down, according to Google CEO Larry Page. Dennis Woodside, a longtime Google executive, is now the new Motorola CEO.

Google€™s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility is now complete, the search giant and now hardware maker detailed in a May 22 blog post. And while Google has said it will run Motorola as a separate business, that doesn€™t mean all will remain as-is.

On the same day that the acquisition became official, Google announced that Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha, who revived Motorola€™s mobile device business and has been a vocal advocate for the Android platform, stepped down from the top position. Google has appointed Dennis Woodside, a longtime Google employee, as the new CEO of Motorola Mobility.

Google CEO Larry Page, in a blog post, said Woodside will €œensure a smooth transition€ for the company. He added that Woodside has helped build business for Google across the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia, and in less than three years as president of the Americas, helped increase Google€™s revenue from $10.8 billion to $17.5 billion.

€œAs an Ironman triathlete, he€™s got plenty of energy for the journey ahead€”and he€™s already off to a great start with some very strong new hires for the Motorola team,€ wrote Page.

These new €œleaders,€ immediately joining the Motorola executive team, include Regina Dugan, the former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA); Mark Randall, formerly of Amazon and Nokia; Vanessa Wittman, who was chief financial officer of Marsh & McLennan; Scott Sullivan, former head of HR at Visa and Nvidia; and Gary Briggs, Google€™s former vice president of consumer marketing.

Several members of the Motorola Mobility staff€”Iqbal Arshad, Marshall Brown, Fei Liu, Dan Moloney, Scott Offer, Mark Shockley, Mahesh Veerina and Jim Wicks€”will retain their positions.

Page went on to call Motorola a €œgreat American tech company, with a track record of over 80 years of innovation.€ Referencing Motorola€™s StarTAC, the industry€™s first cell phone, which €œat the time seemed tiny,€ Page added, €œIt€™s a great time to be in the mobile business, and I€™m confident that the team at Motorola will be creating the next generation of mobile devices that will improve lives for years to come.€

Such cheerleading aside, Google has promised to walk a careful line and not show favoritism to Motorola over the other handset makers currently supporting its Android mobile platform.

In the past, Google has worked with device makers on its own branded Nexus devices. Going forward, however, it plans to work on Nexus devices with at least five manufacturers at once, The Wall Street Journal reported May 15. While the effort could certainly help to further build Android market share€”during the first quarter, Android was on 56 percent of the smartphones that shipped worldwide, according to Gartner€”the move is likely to also help assuage industry fears about favoritism toward Motorola.

Woodside, in the press release, offered his first comments as CEO of Motorola.

€œMotorola literally invented the entire mobile industry with the first-ever commercial cell phone in 1983. Thirty years later, mobile devices are at the center of the computing revolution. Our aim,€ he continued, "is simple: to focus Motorola Mobility€™s remarkable talent on fewer, bigger bets, and create wonderful devices that are used by people around the world.€