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Motorola's CEO Will Step Down

Chris Galvin will leave a tenure marked by layoffs and a loss of cell phone leadership.



CEO Christopher Galvin has decided to retire, amid sharp differences with the board of the embattled electronics and semiconductor manufacturer.

Galvin, whose grandfather founded Motorola, announced his decision after the markets closed on Friday, saying, "While I have achieved substantial results, the board and I do not share the same view of the company's pace, strategy and progress at this stage of the turnaround. Accordingly, it is time for me to pass the baton to new leadership." Galvin's statement was distributed by the company.

The market wasn't sorry to see him go. After losing 4 cents in regular trading, the Schaumburg, Ill., company was up 56 cents, or 5%, to $11.09 in after-hours trading.

For its part, Motorola's board accepted Galvin's retirement, but had nothing but praise for him, at least in public.

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"Chris Galvin has led Motorola through one of the most challenging periods in its history and in the world economy, including the Asian currency crisis, the telecom boom and bust and a coincident semiconductor down cycle. We also are very appreciative of his service to Motorola over the last 36 years, in particular of his leadership over the last six and a half years as chairman and CEO, as well as his many other contributions," said John Pepper, the company's presiding director, in a prepared statement.

However, Galvin has been blamed for Motorola's loss of market share, particularly in cell phone handsets, where it now trails


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. Motorola dominated that market in the mid '90s, and was slow to see the potential in low-cost phones. It invested in the floundering Iridium satellite phone network, guessing wrongly that high-end phones and an expensive service that would work almost anywhere in the world would be a profitable market. The company has seen a year-over-year decline in revenue for five-straight quarters.

Galvin's $1.5 million bonus in 2002 was criticized, especially as it was in sharp contrast to massive layoffs during his tenure, including 30,000 in 2001.