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Ron Garriques leaves Motorola for Dell: The Humpty-Dumpty Question: Did he fall or was he pushed?

Ron Garriques, an eight-year Motorola Inc. veteran who rose to lead the company’s mobile device division, itself responsible for the company’s resurgent fortunes via the Razr handset, resigned from Motorola to join Dell Inc.
Dell has been searching for management solutions to its own resurgence, with founder Michael Dell currently back in the CEO position.
Garriques will join the computer maker as president of its new Global Consumer division, effective Monday, according to Dell. The new division will be responsible for all consumer products, product design and sales.
Motorola said that on an interim basis Ray Roman, senior vice president of global sales, and Terry Vega, senior vice president for global devices, will work in tandem to fill Garriques’ role.
Motorola’s stock, which climbed in early trading, appeared to sag on the early afternoon news, dipping before regaining its upward trajectory for the day. Dell’s stock rose slightly on the news.
Beyond the day’s trading, however, loom bigger questions.
Was Garriques’ departure inevitable? How long had Dell been recruiting him? How will Motorola deal with the loss? Could Garriques’ departure motivate investor Carl Icahn to push for further management changes? How much talent at Motorola might Garriques take with him? And what does this mean for Motorola?
Motorola’s resurgent fortunes apparently reached their apex last year as the company enjoyed a long string of strong quarters in market share, revenue and profit growth. Its troubles, however, came to light last month as handset volume shipments in 2006 grew rapidly but profits were sharply down.
The Razr’s success, in many analysts’ views, has eclipsed Motorola’s plans for successor models such as the Krzr by reaching the mass market at extremely low prices, cannibalizing sales at the higher end. Motorola also did not profit from its mass volumes in emerging markets, in contrast to rival Nokia Corp.
Garriques departure is certain to be a major conversational item in the wireless industry in the run-up to the CTIA Wireless 2007 trade show in late March in Orlando, Fla.

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