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Motorola boss Ed Zander has been ousted as CEO by the firm's board of directors.

Greg Brown, the firm's current president and chief operating officer, will step into Zander's shoes on 1 January.

Zander will retain his role as chairman until Motorola's annual stockholders' meeting in May 2008.

Motorola director Samuel C. Scott, speaking on behalf of the board, said in a statement that the decision to drop Zander and elect Brown as CEO was the "culmination of a thoughtful and disciplined process of succession planning".

Zander, who previously worked at Sun Microsystems for more than 15 years, was given the role of CEO at Motorola in January 2004.

Earlier this year, amid disappointing sales figures and a profit warning at the firm, rebel investor Eric Jackson had called for Zander's head. In July, Jackson ruffled some feathers on the board with the publication of a statement ominously entitled "Motorola Plan B". He said:

"What has he [Zander] brought to Motorola that is really unique in the last three and a half years? If it's difficult to answer that question, we find it hard to imagine what he'll bring moving forward, which is why we suggest a change is needed now."

Motorola has slashed around 7,500 jobs worldwide since January this year, as it attempts to push the mobile phone company back into profitability. ®

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