Beset with slumping handset sales and little momentum, Motorola said Nov. 30 Greg Brown will replace Ed Zander, Jan. 1, as chief executive officer of the worlds No. 3 cell phone maker. Zander will continue to serve as Motorolas chairman until the annual meeting of stockholders in May 2008.
Zander, a former Sun Microsystems executive, joined Motorola in 2004 and quickly made a splash with the introduction of the Razr line of mobile phones. Since then, though, Razr sales have slowed and Motorola fell from No. 2 to No. 3 among the dominant handset makers. Nokia and Samsung are now the top two handset manufacturers.
Zanders woes led the companys top investor, Carl Icahn, to threaten to mount a campaign to overthrow Zander if performance didnt improve. It didnt.
Motorola posted another disappointing quarter Oct. 25 with third-quarter net income falling to $60 million from $968 million a year earlier. The Schaumburg, Ill.-based company posted sales of $8.81 billion, also down from 2007 third-quarter sales of $10.6 billion. For the first nine months of 2007, Motorola recorded a $149 million loss on sales, down 13 percent at $30 billion.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank Ed for his vision, expertise and tireless commitment to Motorola,” Samuel C. Scott III, Motorolas lead director, said in a statement. “We greatly appreciate his many contributions and wish him all the best in the years ahead. Todays decision is the culmination of a thoughtful and disciplined process of succession planning.”
Brown has served as president and chief operating officer of Motorola since March 2007. He also guided the $3.9 billion acquisition of Symbol Technologies, the second-largest transaction in Motorolas history.
“This is a unique company with strong technology, people and customers,” Brown said in a statement. “I welcome this opportunity to lead Motorola successfully into the future. We have a lot to do and I am intensely focused on building shareholder value.”
Prior to joining Motorola, Brown served as chairman and CEO of Micromuse, a network management software company. Prior to that, he was president of Ameritech Custom Business Services and Ameritech New Media.
“We are confident that he will bring a combination of strategic insight, operational discipline, and inspirational leadership needed for accelerated and sustained growth,” Scott said of Brown.
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