Motorola Names New Mobile Phone Chief - InformationWeek

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8/4/2008
01:56 PM
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Motorola Names New Mobile Phone Chief

The company turns to former Qualcomm chief operating officer Sanjay Jha to head up its ailing handset division.

As Motorola prepares to split itself into two companies next year, it announced new leadership for its mobile phone division.

The company on Monday named Sanjay Jha as co-CEO, alongside current CEO Greg Brown, and CEO of the company's mobile devices business. Jha spent the previous 14 years at Qualcomm and was named its COO in 2006.

"Motorola is the pioneer in mobile devices and I'm honored to become co-CEO of this company and CEO of the mobile devices business," said Jha, in a statement. "I welcome the opportunity to lead this company into the future, while working to create a successful independent mobile devices company that will continue to innovate and grow for years to come."

Jha will face multiple challenges with the handset operations. While Motorola recently reported a small profit for the second quarter -- thanks in part to selling more mobile phones than expected -- the cell phone division had lost more than $1.9 billion since the start of 2007.

The company has a stagnant portfolio of handsets and is still searching for another hit like the Razr, which sold more than 110 million units worldwide. It faces an uphill challenge as customers have been consistently flocking to mobile phones like Apple's iPhone or offerings from Nokia.

Motorola is the third-largest handset seller in the world, and it shipped 28.1 million units last quarter, but it still trails Nokia and Samsung, and LG Electronics is right on its tail.

Amid pressure from investors, the company announced earlier this year that its mobile devices operations would be spun off into an independent company. The split is expected to be finalized in the third quarter of 2009, and it will create a Mobile Devices company and a Broadband & Mobility Solutions company.

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