By Mike Caggeso
Declines in sales and profit have forced Motorola, Inc. (MOT) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ed Zander to announce he is stepping down.
President and Chief Operating Officer Greg Brown will be his replacement. Zander will step down as CEO effective Jan. 1 and will remain Chairman until the company's annual stockholder meeting in May.
Motorola's stocks have dropped considerably since the company released its third-quarter earnings report – a 94% plunge in profit on sharply lower sales. For the year, Motorola's stock is down almost 23%
"This man got the company into a pickle," saidJoan Lappin, president of Gramercy Capital Management in New York to Bloomberg News. "They're losing money and they're continuing to lose share, and he's put the stock in the dumper."
Thirty-four years ago, Motorola manager Martin Cooper made the first call on what was considered the first mobile phone, as heavy and enormous as it was compared to today's standards.
Now, the company's market share fell from 20.7% to 13.1%, causing the Illinois-based company to slip behind Korea-based Samsung, whose market share boosted from 12.2% to 14.5% in the third quarter. Industry leader, Finland-based Nokia Corp. (NOK) increased its market share from 35.1% to 38.1%.
Brown's work to turn the company around won't be much easier, as Apple's iPhone and the highly anticipated Google Phone will continue to pile-on the evolution of the cell phone.
But at least investors are eager for the new era, as Motorola stocks jumped as high as 4.5% in early morning trading on Friday.
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