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."

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