PalmOne gives interim CEO full-time gig

PalmOne names Ed Colligan as chief executive officer and president.

PalmOne has taken the term "interim" out of Ed Colligan's job title, making him the company's new chief executive officer (CEO) and president, the PDA (personal digital assistant) maker announced Monday. The move comes just days before PalmOne is expected to launch the first device in its new mobile manager range of handheld computing products.

Colligan, 44, was appointed interim CEO after Todd Bradley announced his plans in January to leave the Milpitas, California, company to pursue other challenges. Although the former CEO delayed his departure until this month so as to advise on the management transition, Bradley relinquished the CEO title on Feb. 25.

Bradley, the company's first CEO, and Colligan served as driving forces behind PalmOne's evolution and both men have a long history with the company's predecessors. Colligan joined Palm Computing in 1993 as vice president of marketing, later moving on to cofound Handspring, where he served as president and chief operating officer.

In October 2003, as part of PalmOne's acquisition of Handspring, it spun off its software division to create PalmSource, freeing PalmOne to focus on hardware. Colligan joined PalmOne as senior vice president and general manager of its wireless business, and in June 2004 was promoted to president.

Eric Benhamou, PalmOne's chairman, in a statement praised Colligan's trial run in the top job, crediting him with securing the confidence of the PalmOne's board of directors, its customers, suppliers and employees.

The most pressing challenge for PalmOne's new CEO will be clawing back its dwindling share of an overall declining PDA market from companies like Hewlett-Packard.

PalmOne is hoping that the LifeDrive Mobile Manager, expected to make its debut on Wednesday, will play a key role in reviving the company's fortunes.

The mobile manager range of devices is aimed at consumers who want to use as much digital content as possible, including music, video, e-mail and business documents in Word, Excel and PowerPoint formats. It will sit alongside PalmOne's other two ranges: the Tungsten and Zire branded handheld organizers, and the Treo smart phone.

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Laura Rohde

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