In Business This Week: HEADLINER: STEVE APPLETON
STRONG-ARMING MICRON'S BOARDROOM
Steve Appleton has vanquished his top rival at Micron Technology. On Sept. 30--at CEO Appleton's behest, say insiders--the directors accepted the resignations from the board of chief operating officer Tyler Lowrey and Vice-President Ed Heitzeberg, who had helped stage a botched coup that made Lowrey CEO for nine days last January. CFO Wilbur "Bill" Stover also gave up his seat. Lowrey took a research job with Micron.
Appleton also will add new outside directors to the group led by top Micron shareholder John Simplot. The changes are a boost for Appleton, 36, a fitness fanatic who flies fighter planes. He is credited with holding Micron together when memory prices plunged 90% in the past year. With prices up and a strong quarter, Micron shares are soaring. "Never underestimate Appleton," says hedge fund manager Richard Whittington. "He may look like a muscle-headed flyboy, but he's incredibly competent."EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top
AUSSIE TREASURER BARES ALL!
IN THE CLUBBY REALM OF finance ministers, discretion supposedly is a big part of the job description. So tongues were wagging away at the World Bank's annual meeting after Australian Treasurer Peter Costello on Sept. 30 provided an Australian publication with a candid accounting of his private tete-a-tete with Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Costello reported that Greenspan "saw no threats to inflation down the track...I don't think there is any expectation at...the moment that [U.S.] rates are going to rise." Costello's tell-all spurred a two-day bond rally, with yields on the benchmark 30-year Treasury bonds dropping to 6.85% by Oct. 2.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top
DEC'S DOOR REVOLVES AGAIN
THE RANKS ARE THINNING atop Digital Equipment. On Sept. 27, Vincenzo Damiani became the third vice-president to leave the beleaguered computer maker in three months. The ex-IBMer, who joined Digital in 1993, presided over a sharp decline in DEC's European business, which once contributed half the company's revenues and most of its profits. And a reorganization in April stripped Damiani of a high-profile sales and consulting operation. Hans Dirkman, a 25-year Digital veteran, will take Damiani's job. But DEC won't replace Enrico Pesatori, vice-president and general manager of its key computer systems division, who resigned abruptly in July.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top
CHECKOUT TIME AT HOLIDAY INN
LESS THAN EIGHT MONTHS after joining Holiday Inn Worldwide, President and CEO Timothy Lane quit on Sept. 28 in a dispute over decision-making power. A source close to Lane says he resigned after the board of parent Bass would not approve a $200 million acquisition outside the hotel business. A Holiday Inn spokeswoman ascribed Lane's exit to "different management styles" but did not elaborate. Lane's move comes at a bad time for Holiday Inn, whose two-year rebranding effort hasn't met expectations.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top
TALES FROM THE ENCRYPTION FRONT
FOR YEARS, GOVERNMENT AND business have locked horns over an esoteric technology called encryption. The Administration has insisted on strict export controls, which industry argues cost U.S. companies millions of dollars. On Oct. 1, the White House offered a compromise. It would permit exports of encryption technology with 56-bit-long "keys," harder to crack than the currently allowable 40-bit keys. In exchange, companies would have to ensure that law enforcers could get access to the keys, and thus be able to decipher coded information.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top