Motorola's Zander to Step Down as CEO
Motorola,which has been fending off criticism from shareholder Carl Icahn as its performance slipped over the past several quarters, has named Greg Brown as its chief executive, replacing Ed Zander, who will remain chairman until the company's annual meeting in May.
Brown, 47 years old, is currently the company's president and chief operating officer. His appointment is effective Jan. 1.
Since joining Motorola in 2003, Brown has headed four different businesses at Motorola. He also led the $3.9 billion acquisition of Symbol Technologies, the second largest transaction in Motorola's history.
Brown also is credited with returning Motorola's automotive business to profitability and helping to divest the business unit.
The news, which was first reported by CNBC, sent Motorola shares up as much as 7% in trading before the opening bell. The shares have continued to climb Friday, as much as 1.34 percent more.
Zander was initially credited with helping to turn around Motorola. He scored a big win with the trendsetting Razr phone, but that streak began to crumble last year as sales eased off and consumers moved on to other hot phones.
Motorola then slipped to third place behind Samsung Electronics and far behind market leader Nokia.
It is still unclear how Motorola plans to come up with a successor to the Razr's success.
Among Zander's sharpest critics was billionaire investor Icahn, who staged a proxy battle earlier this year.
Although Icahn failed in his bid to win a seat on Motorola's board, he appeared to be renewing his focus on the company.
Last month, after Motorola reported a 94% drop in third-quarter earnings, Icahn once again called for Motorola to split itself up.
Among Brown's challenges will be finding a way to appease this type of criticism and reigniting sales growth at the company.