Motorola: We're not looking to replace Zander

A board member says a BusinessWeek story claiming that the mobile-phone maker's board is looking to replace its chief executive is wrong.

A Motorola board member has denied reports that the company is actively looking to replace CEO Ed Zander after the company reported another quarter of losses on Thursday.

Tom Meredith, an executive vice president of the company currently serving as chief financial officer and sitting on Motorola's board, said in a phone interview on Thursday that the board stands behind Zander and is not interviewing candidates to replace him. BusinessWeek published an article Thursday citing two anonymous sources who said the board is looking to give Zander the boot.

"The board is not actively looking for a new CEO," Meredith said. "The (BusinessWeek) story is incorrect. Our board believes we have the right strategy and the right team in place."

The BusinessWeek article also stated that the board had met with Michael Capellas, former CEO of MCI, as a possible candidate for the top job. Capellas is now CEO of the electronics payment company First Data.

Meredith wouldn't confirm or deny whether Motorola had approached Capellas. But he said that if Motorola had contacted Capellas, it wasn't for the CEO position.

Motorola has been talking to a variety of executive-level candidates about openings at the company. In particular, the company was recently looking to replace Ron Garriques, who had headed up the mobile device unit at Motorola. Garriques left the company in February for a job at Dell.

The article also said Motorola was eying Greg Brown, the current chief operating officer, as a potential successor to Zander. Meredith explained that Motorola is always looking at its top-level executives to see if they could fill other positions in the company.

"We are constantly assessing likely talent to determine whether they are capable of being a CEO or CFO," Meredith said. "We talk to people all the time and evaluate them with great rigor when we're trying to fill every senior-level position."

Motorola has come under pressure recently from investors to replace Zander. The heat turned up, so to speak, when the company recently reported a second quarter in a row of losses, largely due to its handset business.

 

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