Motorola Chairman and CEO Retiring

Motorola said late Friday that chairman and CEO Chris Galvin has decided to retire.

Galvin has agreed to remain as chairman and CEO of the world’s No. 2 cell-phone manufacturer and a top tier semiconductor maker until his successor is named.

Grandson of the company’s founder, Galvin joined the company in the summer of 1967 and managed to make drastic changes in the last three years in the lead role.

However, under Galvin’s watch, Motorola lost the top cell-phone sales spot to Finland-based Nokia . Now, mounting tension between Galvin and the board of directors seems to have finally taken its toll.

“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,” Galvin said in a statement. “Accordingly, it is time for me to pass the baton to new leadership.”

Motorola’s Presiding Director John Pepper said the remaining board members supported the decision.

“Under his leadership and restructuring initiatives, the company has significantly strengthened its balance sheet, generated positive cash flow for 10 consecutive quarters, returned to profitability,” Pepper said. “He has strengthened the Motorola brand throughout the world and put in place a strong, new management team to lead the company forward.”

Already replacements are being discussed. According to the Associated Press,
Motorola president and COO Mike Zafirovski, who leads the company’s Personal Communications Sector, is being named as a likely candidate.

After taking the reigns, Galvin launched a five-point turnaround plan, which led the Schaumburg, Ill.-based company through a series of obstacles including the Asian currency crisis, the telecom boom and bust and a coincident semiconductor down cycle. The company was prone to restructuring its workforce often resorted to blaming its losses on the same factors.

Galvin was known for his shrewd business tactics and managed to outlast legal and financial obstacles in the company’s recent $34 million offer for Next Level Communications.

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