Motorola CTO leaves company

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

The struggling mobile-phone maker confirmed on Monday that Padmasree Warrior, who was executive vice president and chief technology officer at Motorola, 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 networks mobility, 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 said the move was in line with a plan outlined several months ago. "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, which was aimed at ensuring that the company's engineering and technology specialization directly supports 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 with Forrester Research. He would have expected, and still expects, some changes in product marketing leadership and possibly within internal business functions at Motorola, rather than among operational leaders like Warrior, he said.

These types of changes he expects would support a shift at Motorola away from the consumer handset business and toward enterprise networks and the mobilization of the enterprise, 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 US$4.1 billion research and development investment and 26,000 engineers.

The change follows the announcement on Friday that Greg Brown, formerly president and chief operating officer at Motorola, 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 reported that Motorola's share of the mobile phone market dropped to 13 percent, down from 21 percent last year. Gartner also said Motorola lost its position as number two among phone makers to Samsung. The company met with major success with its Razr phone recently but has failed to match the success of the phone.

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

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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