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Zander out as CEO at Motorola

CEO to be replaced by company's operations head

November 30, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Motorola Inc.'s board of directors announced today it will replace Edward Zander as CEO effective Jan. 1, although Zander, 60, will continue as chairman of the board until May.

Edward Zander

Edward Zander
Zander is being replaced as CEO by Greg Brown, 47, the company's president and chief operating officer, according to a statement from the board this morning.

In the statement, Zander said next year marks his 40th year in the technology industry, adding, "This is the right time for me to move on to the next phase in my life and spend more time with my family."

He said working at Motorola for the past four years has been "a wonderful experience."

Jeff Kagan, an independent analyst in Atlanta, said Zander's departure is based on having succeeded only partially as CEO of a major technology company in the midst of major industry changes, where a technology manufacturing company needs to be led more like a fashion design company. "Ed Zander came from Sun Microsystems to turn Motorola around and was somewhat successful, but that success did not continue," Kagan said in an e-mail.

Zander's "big mistake was thinking that the single success of the Razr phone was enough," Kagan added. "It was not. The Razr may have been hot, but Motorola needed to replace it with another hot phone. Instead, they rode it up and rode it back down again."

Kagan said the cell phone industry "moves quickly" like the fashion industry. "What is hot today will not be hot next year," he said. "Motorola, like a top fashion designer, needs to think about what's next because what is hot today is only for today."

Prior to joining Motorola in January 2004, Zander was managing director at Silver Lake Partners, a technology investment company. Prior to that post, he was chief operating officer at Sun, where he worked from 1987 to 2002, serving in various positions, including president of Sun's computer and software divisions. He also held senior positions at Apollo Computer and Data General.

Zander received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master's degree in business administration from Boston University.

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