January 8, 2003 4:58 PM PST

Segway gains CEO, loses president

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Segway, the maker of the human transporter formerly known as "Ginger," announced Wednesday that it has appointed a new chief executive and that its president resigned.

Vernon Loucks Jr., an original Segway board member and former chairman and chief executive of Baxter International, is the company's new chief executive.

Meanwhile, the resignation of George Muller, who joined the company last May, marks the second high-level executive to leave the young company. It comes as the company prepares to develop distribution channels and marketing strategy for the commercial and consumer markets.

But Muller, in an interview with CNET Networks' News.com, said the company is well-positioned to move forward with its experienced management team and that his departure is based on a desire to be closer to his family. Muller, who lives with his wife and four school-age children in New Jersey, was commuting to Segway's headquarters in New Hampshire.

"I had a great time working at Segway and the people there. I also have the greatest respect for Dean (Kamen, founder and chairman)," said Muller, former president of Subaru of America. "But I decided to leave because my four kids are in school, and I wouldn't be able to move them up there for over a year. It wasn't a sudden decision. I had been talking with the company about this for awhile. I am at a point in my career where this made sense."

His departure follows that of Peter Poulin, former vice president of commercial sales, who left last summer to spend more time with his family in Texas. Muller said it is common for young companies to undergo several shifts in its management team in the first few years.

Segway still retains eight of the 10 executives who were originally appointed, said Carla Vallone, a company spokeswoman.

The company received funding in fall 2000 and is not currently seeking any new financing, said Vallone.

Both Vallone and Muller said last year was the year that Segway worked with legislators to gain approval for the human transporter to operate on sidewalks and for companies and government agencies to beta test the product.

"Things are well-positioned now to develop the channel and go-to market strategy," Muller said.

Segway also began taking consumer orders for the transporter in November and will be shipping to that segment of the market in March.

 

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