September 19, 2003 4:40 PM PDT

Motorola chief to step down

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Motorola CEO Chris Galvin plans to leave his post, citing differences with other executives over the company's future direction, the handset maker announced Friday.

Galvin said in a statement that he's stepping down because he does not "share the same view of the company's pace, strategy and progress at this stage." The statement did not provide additional details on the reason for the departure. A Motorola representative was not immediately available for further comment.

The company's presiding director, John Pepper Jr., said in a statement that Galvin will remain in the top slot at the No. 2 mobile phone maker until a replacement is found. Galvin also will take part in the executive search process, Pepper said.

Speculation about Galvin's replacement began within moments of the announcement. Among the early favorites are Mike Zafirovski, Motorola's president and chief operating officer.

Galvin has worked for Motorola for 36 years. He has been the company's chief executive officer since 1997, a reign in which he was criticized by analysts for not spinning off Motorola's semiconductor or cell phone divisions once they began experiencing less demand. Also under his leadership, Motorola was overtaken by Finland's Nokia as the world's No. 1 handset maker.

Galvin said he's leaving about midway through a five-year turnaround plan he devised for the company, which has been plagued by slumping industry demand for new cell phones.

"It is time for me to pass the baton to new leadership," Galvin said in a statement. "I leave my successor with a formidable Motorola platform compared to three years ago."


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