Nancy Handel, a 19-year veteran of the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip-equipment maker, will replace Bronson. She was most recently deputy CFO at the company.
In a statement, Applied said Handel had been "instrumental in driving the successful restructuring of the company, which delivered substantial operational returns."
The company stressed that Bronson's resignation "was not related to the company's financial condition, financial statement disclosures or accounting practices."
In a morning note, Lehman analyst Ed White said he anticipates a smooth transition, adding that he doesn't take the resignation as a sign of any problems at Applied.
"We do not anticipate any major change in financial strategy at Applied Materials," wrote White. "That strategy has included maintaining a strong balance sheet, keeping tight control over costs, and remaining prepared to respond to a strong demand climate, when it resumes."
Though the timing of Bronson's departure was somewhat of a surprise, some industry watchers had speculated that he might leave after Michael Splinter was
tapped to head Applied Materials last year, White noted.
AMAT shares were recently off 5 cents, or 0.3%, to $15.91.