Steve Appleton, chairman and CEO of semiconductor company Micron Technology, passed away Friday morning in a small plane accident in Boise, Idaho. He was 51.
Appleton was alone in the plane when it caught fire before landing, the Associated Press reported. Airport spokeswoman Patti Miller noted that the aircraft was a fixed-wing prop plane Lancair, built from a kit. The safety of Lancair planes has already been called into question by the National Transportation Safety Board after 222 experimental and amateur-built plane accidents killed 67 people last year, the report said.
Appleton had been an enthusiast of the hobby for years, and in 2004 he sustained a punctured lung, head injuries, ruptured disk and broken bones after his stunt plane crashed in the Boise desert. Appleton owned multiple aircrafts that he flew frequently, and also participated in air shows, the report said.
Micron has not yet disclosed how exactly Appleton’s death will affect the company, but did say it expects to provide further details later today.
"Steve's passion and energy left an indelible mark on Micron, the Idaho community and the technology industry at large," the company’s board of directors said in its first prepared statement.
The news comes on the heels of Micron president and COO D. Mark Durcanannouncing his retirement upon the completion of Micron's current fiscal year in August. Mark W. Adams, the company's current vice president of Worldwide Sales, will succeed Mr. Durcan.
Micron is one of the world’s largest providers of semiconductors for a range of technologies including PCs, mobile devices, cameras, cars, and industrial systems. It also markets DRAM, NAND, NOR flash memory, and other memory solutions.
The company’s shares were up 23 cents at $7.95 Friday before trading was halted in the early afternoon for the news of Appleton’s passing.