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Breen's exit hits Motorola

Thu, 07/25/2002 - 8:00pm
Susan Rush

Edward Breen is on the move, but is he going from the frying pan into the fire? Less than a year after taking over as chief operating officer at Motorola Inc., Breen is leaving the company to take up the CEO post at embattled Tyco International Ltd.

Breen was heir-apparent to the Motorola throne when Christopher Galvin decided to step down as the company's chief executive, but he has decided to seize another opportunity. "This is the opportunity of a lifetime," Breen said in a statement. "Tyco and its employees have successfully weathered a very difficult few months, and I am confident that we will put the current issues behind us and begin to forge ahead."

Five weeks ago, then-Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski resigned his post just before he was indicted for allegedly not paying $1 million in sales tax for artwork purchases. The company has been plagued by accounting worries ever since — according to circulating rumors, a bankruptcy filing could be in the company's future. Nonetheless, Breen is committed to his new task at hand. He plans to develop an action plan that will restore confidence in Tyco with its employees, suppliers, customers and the financial community, he said.

News of Breen's departure sent Motorola shares sliding. The company's stock had shed $1.20, or nearly 10 percent, to $10.98 as of 11:06 a.m. EDT. Meanwhile, Tyco's stock is skyrocketing, up nearly 37 percent to $11.27 as of 11:07 a.m. EDT.

Motorola has wasted no time in naming Breen's successor. Mike Zafirovski, currently executive vice president and president of Motorola's Personal Communications Sector, will take over as president and chief operating officer when Breen departs on Monday, July 29.

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