Motorola CEO Zander Steps Down

Ed Zander will step aside as CEO of Motorola Jan. 1 and the company’s board has elected president and chief operating officer Greg Brown to grab the reins.

The leadership change comes after Motorola has suffered declines in its core mobile-phone handset business for the last several quarters, leading the company to eliminate 7,500 jobs this year across all divisions, 11% of its year-end 2006 employee count. 

Zander will continue to serve as chairman until the annual meeting of stockholders in May 2008. In a statement, Motorola lead director Samuel C. Scott III said, “I want to take this opportunity to thank Ed for his vision, expertise and tireless commitment to Motorola. We greatly appreciate his many contributions and wish him all the best in the years ahead. Today's decision is the culmination of a thoughtful and disciplined process of succession planning.”

In a prepared statement, Zander, 60, said that it was “the right time for me to move on to the next phase in my life and spend more time with my family.”

Motorola hired Zander as CEO in January 2004. He previously was a managing director of Silver Lake Partners, a private equity fund focused on the tech sector. Prior to that, he served as president and COO of Sun Microsystems.

Brown, 47, was appointed president and COO in March, and has headed four different businesses at Motorola since joining the company in 2003. He also led the $3.9 billion acquisition of Symbol Technologies, the second-largest transaction in Motorola's history. Prior to joining Motorola, Brown was chairman and CEO of network-management software company Micromuse.

In a filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Motorola said that “Mr. Zander will not be nominated, or stand for re-election, to the board of directors at the 2008 annual meeting of stockholders.”

Motorola also noted that Zander will serve as “strategic advisor to the CEO” through Jan. 5, 2009, which marks the end of the term under his employment agreement, and during which time Zander will continue to receive his regular base salary and benefits.