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Breen Rises at Motorola

Ed Breen is going from broadband to a broad view: The former General Instrument Corp. head man has been named to succeed Robert Growney as president and chief operating officer of Motorola Inc., effective Jan. 1.

Until then, Breen will continue as executive vice president and president of the company's network sector, a job he has held since Motorola and GI merged in January 2000. The company has not yet named his successor.

Growney — who had previously announced his plans to retire when he turns 60 in 2002 — will stay on as president and chief operating officer until Dec. 31. At that time, he will serve as vice chairman until he retires on March 31.

As the executive in charge of the network sector, Breen has overseen integration of the two companies' broadband and network-equipment operations.

The network sector — which includes the broadband communications, global telecom solutions and commercial, government and industrial solutions sectors — has been among Motorola's stronger divisions during the 2001 economic downturn. Though the sector's sales slipped in the second quarter, the drop was not as steep as in the personal communications, integrated electronics or semiconductor divisions.

"One of Motorola's strengths is in its practice of planning and implementing succession at the most senior level of the corporation," Motorola chairman Christopher Galvin said in a release. "I also look forward to deepening my partnership with Ed Breen in the office of the chairman and continuing to build a strong senior leadership team as we grow our businesses to be best in class in all industries in which we choose to compete."

Yankee Group senior broadband analyst Matthew Davis said Breen's appointment brings broadband to the company's front office.

"I would say that signals a strong commitment to the broadband space," Davis said. "That's a clear direction of where they want to have strength for the company."

But it won't be an easy job for Breen. The company has already warned that its third-quarter sales won't rise much more than the $7.5-billion second-quarter tally, and analysts are predicting Motorola's earnings report Tuesday will show a third straight operating loss.

Analysts place much of the blame for the poor performance on dwindling wireless phone sales and harsh weather in the semiconductor market.

On the wireless front, reports have circulated that Motorola is eyeing a more than $20-billion joint venture with German mobile phone maker Siemens AG to produce handsets and network systems. Both companies refused to comment on any potential negotiations.

Meanwhile, Motorola has announced it will cut 2,000 additional jobs by the end of this year. That brings its 2001 pink-slip total to 32,000, or 22 percent of its work force.