The executive turmoil at struggling Motorola continued Dec. 3 with the resignation of Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Padmasree Warrior.
Warrior’s resignation came three days after Motorola announced that CEO Ed Zander is stepping down and will turn over the reins of the company Jan. 1 to Ed Brown.
According to various media accounts, Warrior announced her resignation via companywide e-mail. By the end of the day, Motorola had removed Warrior’s name from most company sites. A Motorola spokesperson confirmed only that Warrior was no longer with the company.
Motorola Chief Strategy Officer Rich Nottenburg will take over as CTO. Warrior oversaw CTOs at Motorola’s various divisions, including mobile devices, enterprise mobility, and home and network mobility. That organization won’t change under Nottenburg, the spokesperson said.
Click here to read more about Motorola’s ousting of CEO Ed Zander.
Warrior’s ultimate fate at Motorola may have been tied to Zander, who joined the company in 2004. Shortly after Zander took over, Motorola introduced the highly popular RAZR phone, which was under Warrior’s domain. However, since then, RAZR sales have slowed in the face of fierce competition and Motorola has failed to introduce another hit.
“At that point the RAZR was shown not to be quite the timeless classic Motorola had hoped it might become and sales fell sharply,” Martin Garner, an analyst at Ovum Research, said in an investment note.
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. Analysts predict 2007 revenue will decline 14 percent, to $36.7 billion, down from $42.9 billion in 2006.
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, Ovum’s Garner said. He added that during the two quarters after the price war started, Motorola saw an almost 50 percent drop in handset sales, “a speed of decline that shows just how brutal the handset market is.”
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