Motorola CTO leaves company

Departure comes days after company replaces CEO

Motorola Inc.'s chief technology officer has left the company, just days after the company announced that it will replace CEO Ed Zander.

The struggling mobile-phone maker confirmed yesterday that Padmasree Warrior, who was executive vice president and CTO, has left the company. Many references to her on the Motorola Web site have already been removed.

Motorola has CTOs for each of its businesses, including mobile devices, enterprise mobility solutions, and home and network mobility systems, and they will continue to be in charge of commercialization of product development, Jennifer Erickson, a Motorola spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. Rich Nottenburg, Motorola's chief strategy officer, will become responsible for Motorola's overall technology leadership, she said.

Erickson did not explain why Warrior departed, but she said the move was in line with a plan that had been in place for months. "This is the final step in redefining the CTO responsibilities and is entirely consistent with the direction we outlined several months ago," she said.

Other components of that plan included a realignment of Motorola's software group -- a move that was aimed at ensuring that the company's engineering and technology efforts directly support its businesses, she said.

Although it's hard to know if Warrior's departure is linked to Zander's, it's a bit surprising, said Chris Silva, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. He would have expected -- and he still expects -- some changes in product marketing leadership and possibly within internal business functions at Motorola, rather than among operational leaders such as Warrior, he said.

The types of changes at Motorola that Silva expects would support a shift away from the consumer handset business and toward corporate network offerings and efforts related to enterprise mobility systems, he said.

One version of Warrior's biography on Motorola's Web site says she was called "sharp as a Razr" by the Chicago Sun Times. She was responsible for Motorola's $4.1 billion research and development investment and 26,000 engineers.

The change follows the announcement on Friday that Greg Brown, formerly Motorola's president and chief operating officer, would take over for Zander as CEO at the end of the year.

Motorola, despite its widely recognized brand, has struggled recently with declining revenue, profit and market share. Last week, Gartner Inc. reported that Motorola's share of the mobile phone market dropped to 13%, down from 21% last year. Gartner also said Motorola lost its position as No. 2 among phone makers to Samsung Electronics. The company met with success when it introduced the Razr phone, but it has since failed to match that performance.

Still, Motorola has valuable assets, particularly in the corporate market, such as technology it gained through its acquisitions of Symbol and Good Technologies. Motorola should be able to leverage those to turn around its fortunes, Silva said.

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