Monday, July 16, 2007

Would Stu Reed have been Hired to Lead Samsung's or Nokia's Handset Divisions?

Last Wednesday, less than 48 hours after we released a "Plan B" for Motorola - where the 5th point of the 5 point plan was to name a head of the struggling Mobile Devices Business - Ed Zander named Stu Reed the head of MDB. This came amidst the earnings shortfall for Q2, so you might have missed it.

Immediately, I started to receive comments or emails of complaints from MOT MDB employees. They weren't happy with Stu Reed'a appointment and - frankly - neither am I. Here's why.

Reed is - I'm sure - a very bright guy and would be an excellent executive in many roles, just not this new one. He was great to head up Supply Chain at Motorola. 20 years at IBM in supply chain, strategy, and process. However, he's only been at Motorola for 2 years, has no mobile experience, no turnaround experience, and (from what I can see in his bio) he has not run a business before.

What this means is that he'll be on a steep learning curve for the first year or two, instead of hitting the ground running. MDB needs more now. It's unlikely that Samsung or Nokia would hire this background for a similar role. Why should Motorola?

The first thing Motorola must do to turn the ship around is change the leader and several of the board members, as we indicate in our "Plan B.". What if a new Ceo is named soon? Won't they want to make their own call as to who should lead MDB?

It's a shame that Terry Vega - who did have significant telco experience - left after she was passed over too. From what I hear, she was well-liked. There is significant cynicism towards the rest of the Senior Leadership Team.

Much more work needs to be done at Motorola. The company started with point 5 of "Plan B" instead of point 1.

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mike said...

the problem of MDB is more related to unproper portfolio rather than margins and supply chain control.
a) biggest carrier Vodafone is pushing 3G (WCDMA) and our portfolio there is very poor...then we lost high tier market as europe...AND MOTOROLA HAD THE FIRST COMMERCIAL 3G ok, management obviously not.
b) another high tier segment, the productivity...the Q was not available for GPRS and UMTS till now (q9) after blackberries, nokia E61, HTC, Samsung, HP GPRS PDA's....etc
it is a shame, and hiring Stu it is not being to be solved, first we should fire all the management thinking about new colours for V3 to avoid to push portfolia right on time.

Anonymous said...

To this Motorola employee, your blanket comments about Terry Vega and other leaders sound like hot air. I'm sure many people liked Terry; I know some didn't. No offense to Terry. Popularity is not part of the job. And, in fact, some remaining leaders are very well-liked as well -- by some. Implying she was the last good leader at the place is ridiculous.

I'm cynical myself by nature, but Reed strikes me as a low-key but effective leader. After the rah-rah years of Ron Garriques (surprise! some people liked him and others were cynical), it seems like a wise choice.

Eric Jackson said...

Thanks, Anon, for your comments.

You're right that management is not a popularity contest. However, if a large section of your people are not behind you or your SLT, that's a big problem. That seems to be the case today at Motorola.

Ask a 100 people what they think of Terry Vega and, you're right, you're going to hear many different responses. From those MOT employees I spoke to, they were very upset with her departure.

I appreciate that you like Stu Reed. I don't know him. But, I stand by my comments about his background and fit for this position.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I must say. I am very happy for Stu. When he was part of IBM he lived down the road from me and my step mother and his wife we're excellent friends. He is a very nice man, and I'm sure he will do well in his new position.