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Report: Motorola close to hiring handset chief

Company is supposedly close to hiring a new CEO for its soon-to-be-spun-off cell phone business. An HP executive is one of the finalists.

Motorola is getting close to hiring someone to head up its soon-to-be-spun-off handset division, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

Hewlett-Packard executive Todd Bradley has emerged as one of two final candidates for the position, according to the article, which cited sources close to the situation. The newspaper reported that the other person under consideration for the position is a top telecom executive whose identity is still unknown.

Motorola, which said in March that it was spinning off the fledgling cell phone division, is supposedly considering two candidates. The Wall Street Journal contacted Bradley by phone Tuesday night, and the executive said he wasn't planning to leave HP.

"I'm happy where I am, and I'm not planning to make any changes," he said in the article.

Bradley, 49, has a long management career that includes senior positions at GE Capital, Dun & Bradstreet, Gateway, FedEx, and PalmOne. He has been with HP since 2005.

He has been known to help struggling divisions get through tough times. Specifically, helped revive HP's personal computer division by focusing on consumers with emphasis on retail sales and new, sleek laptop designs.

He also became chief executive of PalmOne when the company merged with Handspring and split into separate hardware and software companies. (PalmOne, which was the hardware company, later reverted back to its previous brand, Palm.) Bradley is credited with moving the hardware-focused PalmOne from personal organizers into smartphones, creating a new category of handheld devices.

His experience in turning around troubled divisions and companies could be put to good use as the CEO of the new independently run Motorola handset business. The company has been struggling for several quarters to regain market share and profitability.The company's products have lagged while its competitors introduce cooler more compelling handsets. The last hit Motorola had was the 2004 release of the ultra-thin Razr cell phone. Since then its new phones have essentially flopped.

Meanwhile, former competitors like Nokia gobble up worldwide market share and new entrants such as Apple strum up excitement for its iPhone.

Motorola's soon-to-be-spun-off cell phone business is in need of new blood with fresh ideas. The company has essentially been without any significant leadership since February of 2007 when Ron Garriques, who headed up that division, left. Garriques supposedly clashed over strategy with then-CEO Ed Zander, who was later forced to resign.