Saturday, October 04, 2008

Rolling down the Razr’s edge. Ouchhhh!

Aren’t four months a tad too little to turnaround a troubled company drenched with losses?

Just last year, Fortune had listed him as one of ‘Corporate America’s next-gen leaders’. In a twist of fate, this year has only seen him fall from glory – becoming a victim of activist investor, Carl Icahn’s accusations being the latest! His ‘2009 turnaround blueprint’ for Motorola was questioned and tagged as ‘worthless’. And with mud-slingling reaching heights, a man’s efforts to turn around Moto – one who was also appointed by the White House to serve on Bush’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee in May 2004 – was shamelessly criticised! With plans to split Motorola Inc. into two public entities (Motorola confirmed a plan to detach its distressed mobile phone unit from the remaining units on March 26, 2008), the fate of Gregory Brown, CEO, Motorola Inc. is also... in the line of fire!

Considering that his battery of problems have been his predecessor’s gift, one thinks it’s a tad to early to give him so much flak. Jeff Kagan, Telecom Analyst, who vouches for Brown, states, “I have watched Brown since the 1990s at Ameritech. At Motorola, he is reinventing the senior-level suite, which is good news. Can that change be driven through the entire company? That is the question...” Indeed, the message is clear – Moto needs a man like Brown to remain on its board if it seeks some positive changes ahead!

Post a bachelor’s degree course in economics from Rutgers University, Greg held different sales & marketing positions at AT&T. In 1987, he joined Ameritech where he rose to the rank of the President of Ameritech Custom Business Services and Ameritech New Media Inc. Then he served as the Chairman & ceo of Micromuse Inc. and was finally appointed as the President and coo of Motorola in 2002. With more than 25 years of high-tech know-how, Greg currently heads four different business divisions in the company.

Under him, the $6.7 billion government and corp. comm. divisions have grown by a CAGR of 10% and its profitability too has doubled. Furthermore, he successfully led the acquisition of Symbol Technologies for $3.9 billion – the second-largest deal in the history of Motorola! Greg also turned around the automotive unit & consequently led its sell off for $1 billion to Continental.

Surely, Moto’s handset division can be given to a new leader, but Brown’s leadership for the other division is necessary. Even Jack Gold, J. Gold Associates agrees, “A new leader is required to run the newly-formed handset division. It must bring in new blood to stir things up and get the innovation cycle moving again...” Surely, Motorola has decided it must reorganise itself, and part of this process must be a top-down review of its total business game. Kagan, too, agrees on the same as he says, “I think Motorola can recover with the right CEO and the right attitude. I think that with the right leadership, they can recover and do well.” Brown’s previous tenure as a CEO at Micromuse saw him increase revenue by a teeth-rattling 809% to over $200 million, which critics should not overlook! Especially when experts like John Thompson, Vice Chairman, Heidrick & Struggles, too have generously tagged him as “highly talented’ and that he “has the personal bandwidth to be CEO of a Fortune 50 company.” As far as the split is concerned, Greg will surely lose control over the handset division; but then given a choice, he too would have chosen ‘quality’ work over ‘quantity’ work. Well, nothing wrong in giving up what you can’t handle.

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source :
IIPM Editorial, 2008

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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