Motorola has tapped former-Qualcomm COO Sanjay Jha to run its Mobile Devices business, which has suffered six straight quarters of slumping sales.
The move comes less than five months after Motorola said it would split into two separate companies fueled by increasingly poor performance by its Mobile Devices business.
According to the Schaumberg, Ill.-based communications vendor, the board of directors on Monday named Jha as co-CEO of Motorola and CEO of its Mobile Devices Business, effective immediately.
In his new role, Jha will oversee all aspects of Motorola's Mobile Devices business, which accounts for about 41 percent of Motorola's overall revenue, and report to the board.
Greg Brown, CEO of Motorola since January, will also serve as co-CEO and has been named CEO of Motorola's Broadband Mobility Solutions business, which consists of Home and Networks Mobility and Enterprise Mobility Solutions. Motorola said that Brown and Jha will share responsibility as Motorola transitions from one company to two independent, publicly traded entities.
"Sanjay's technical expertise and industry experience make him ideally suited to lead Mobile Devices," said board chairman David Dorman in a statement. "As co-CEOs, Greg and Sanjay will build on the significant changes and solid progress achieved at Motorola and the Mobile Devices business under Greg's leadership during the last seven months. I believe this is the right structure with the right leaders to provide the necessary management focus and agility to position both businesses for long-term success."
The board is looking to Jha to reinvigorate Motorola's dwindling device sales, which hit their zenith in 2004 when Motorola, under the leadership of then CEO Ed Zander, launched the Razr cell phone. The Razr quickly become the hottest selling cellular phone, eventually reaching 110 million units sold, cementing its place in Motorola's history. The Razr soon dulled, however, and since last year Motorola's handset division has lost nearly $2 billion as the company struggles to compete against Nokia, the Apple iPhone, Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry devices, Samsung and others, forcing Motorola to third place in overall global mobile device sales.
Brown, 47, took over for Zander earlier this year and Stu Reed, former Mobile Devices head at Motorola left in March. Upon Reed's departure, Brown took over and announced Motorola's plans to split the company into two entities, a plan which Motorola said will occur sometime in the third quarter of next year.
The pending split follows an evaluation of the structural and strategic realignment of its business, a move that Motorola said would create success for both independent arms. At the time the split was announced, Brown said he hoped it would reinvigorate Motorola's poor mobile device sales, which finished fiscal year 2007 with net profit dropping 84 percent and sales of mobile phones tumbling 38 percent.
Under the two stand-alone companies, the Mobile Devices business, now headed by Jha, 45, will continue to handle multi-mode, multi-band communications products and technologies and continue to design, manufacture and sell mobile handsets and accessories globally with integrated software solutions.
Brown's Broadband & Mobility Solutions business includes Motorola's Enterprise Mobility, Government and Public Safety, and Home and Networks businesses, which make, design, integrate and service voice and data communications solutions and wireless broadband networks for enterprises and government and public safety organizations. It also offers IP video solutions, cellular and high speed broadband networks, cable set-top receivers and other customer-premise equipment for commercial and residential wireless networks.
"We remain committed to improving the performance of our Mobile Devices business by delivering compelling products that meet the needs of customers and consumers around the world," Brown said at the time of the split.
Jha, who holds a Ph.D. in electronic and electrical engineering from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, most recently served as COO of Qualcomm, where he was responsible for corporate research and development and Qualcomm Flarion Technologies. He also served as president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, Qualcomm's chipset and software division. Jha joined Qualcomm in 1994 and was promoted to vice president of engineering in 1997. In 1998, he took the role of senior vice president of engineering and was named executive vice president of Qualcomm and president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies in 2003. Three years later Jha took over as Qualcomm's COO, while he was also a member of the Qualcomm Ventures advisory committee.
Jha is credited with helping Qualcomm overtake Texas Instruments last year as the world's largest mobile phone chipmaker.
Qualcomm said today that executive vice president Len Lauer, 51, will replace Jha as COO and oversee the services business. Lauer held positions with Sprint Nextel and IBM, before joining Qualcomm.
"Motorola is the pioneer in mobile devices and I am 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. I look forward to working closely with Greg, the board, the senior leadership team, and Motorola's talented, hard-working and dedicated associates around the globe to build value for our stockholders."
Brown, who launched a search for an executive to head the Mobile Devices business when the company's split was announced, welcomed Jha.
"I am delighted Sanjay will be joining Motorola as co-CEO and as CEO of Mobile Devices, and I look forward to partnering with him," Brown said in a statement. "Our ability to attract a leader of Sanjay's caliber is a testament to the strong potential of the Mobile Devices business. I am confident Sanjay will continue the important progress we have made and strengthen our ability to deliver innovative products and experiences to market for the long-term future of this business."