Thursday, March 20

Motorola Round-Up

Motorola Shedding Employees To Stem Losses

Richard Thurston of The Register reports that Motorola is poised to axe half the staff at its design facility in Birmingham, as Moto tries to turn around its beleaguered mobile devices division. All the 121 staff at the facility were told Tuesday they are at risk of redundancy. Motorola is proposing to make half of them redundant and said it may close the site.

Therefore, all employees will initially be placed at 'risk of redundancy' whilst alternative opportunities including redeployment, relocation, flexible working/home working or the opportunity of a 'service site' arrangement are investigated as part of the consultation process.

The company said it would consult employees on the proposed redundancies over the next 90 days. The cuts would likely follow soon after.

The Birmingham facility is a Design Centre, so most of the job losses will be among technical staff.

A company spokesperson said cagily that Motorola would not be invoking job losses at the company's other UK sites.

Motorola has this year already laid off 155 people at Cambridgeshire-based TTPCom, a business which it acquired two years ago.

Tinkering Goes On At Motorola……When Will It Stop?

Today on March 19th Motorola has shuffled three finance executives in its latest shake-up. Marc Rothman former controller, is now the new head of finance for the mobile devices unit taking over from Jim MacLaughlin who has left the company. Jim MacLaughlin was a 29-year veteran at Motorola. Motorola promoted Laurie Meissner and Kyle Spainhour from within the finance department to take over Rothman's previous responsibilities.

Watch this space for more updates….

Source: Chicago Tribune

The Exodus From Motorola Continues Unabated

As Teresa von Fuchs said “The revolving door keeps turning at Motorola” as the flailing handset maker announced two more senior executive changes on March 17.

Larry R. Raymond has replaced Steve Strobel as treasurer and that Stephen Nolan will oversee mobile devices in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), taking over the responsibilities from Mike Fenger.

However, a pattern has emerged regarding the appointments. Paul Liska as I had mentioned in an earlier post is a private-equity executive who was previously with Sears Roebuck as CFO. Raymond is also a private-equity executive who was also associated with Sears Roebuck. The million dollar question begs to be answered: Is it going to stop the rut?

Only time will tell. In the meantime private-equity executives have taken control of high profile positions at Motorola.

A Recap on High Profile Exits At Moto

WSJ believes that the leadership changes are part of an overall plan to swiftly transform the senior executive team at Moto.

The first three months of 2008 have marked major management changes at Moto. In addition to the CFO change and today’s changes, Ed Zander announced his resignation late last year and Greg Brown took over as CEO in January. Zander’s exit announcement was quickly followed by news that Padmasree Warrior, a top tech mind at Moto who is largely credited for the company’s Razr success, had left for Cisco.

An Old Nemesis…….Plotting Motorola’s Downfall?

As I had posted earlier, Carl Icahn who has increased his stake in Motorola to 6% is now campaigning ferverently to place 4 of his nominees on the 12 member board of Motorola.

Icahn was snubbed in his earlier attempt to get on to the board by Zander. Now Motorola supposedly at its weakest, is trying to fend of Icahn who is in turn favoring break up of Motorola.

However, industry’s analysts point out that no matter what Motorola does to fend him off, the conditions favor Icahn. But still, Icahn has to win over some of the major stakeholders like Thrivent Asset Management LLC in Minneapolis, which controls 1 million shares; in order to have his way.

Will this soap opera come to an end on May 5, when the voting takes place?

Time only will tell……..

Motorola Getting Itself Mired In Political Controversy

In one of the earlier posts I had talked about Motorola getting embroiled in a political controversy in Malaysia.

Motorola on 19th March denied reports it was involved in a kickback scheme in exchange for a large government contract in Malaysia. The company and key government officials are strongly disputing the accusations, which have been brought by political opponents who have seized the opportunistic moment as the elections are on the threshold.

Motorola tried to defend its pullout from Malaysia saying that it was a strategic business response as the company was under heavy pressure to relocate its operations, possibly to China thereby cutting costs.

Motorola spokeswoman Jennifer Erickson denied the allegations.

"Our commitment to transparency and strict code of conduct define the way we act and do business," Erickson said. "As a responsible corporate citizen, Motorola abides by the laws and regulations of each country in which we operate. This includes competing fairly and openly to provide the best possible solutions for our customers who seek world class communications systems."

Malaysia since 1972 has been a major site for Motorola’s operations employing around 4,000 people.

Motorola Malaysia communications and public affairs manager Tham Mei Ling has reportedly said that Motorola was "fully committed" to Malaysia.

What twists and turns this controversy is going to take….only time will tell.

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