Motorola's Chief Executive Officer Ed Zander, who oversaw the creation of the Razr handset, announced on Friday he will step down to make way for Greg Brown, the current Chief Operating Officer.

Brown will take over the reins in January next year while Zander will remain as company Chairman until its annual investor meeting in May. Before joining Motorola in 2003, Brown, 47, was head of software provider Micromuse Inc.

I am privileged to become the chief executive of Motorola. This is a unique company with strong technology, people and customers ... we have a lot to do, Brown said.

Zander, 60, initially revived the Schaumburg, Ill.-based equipment maker with the Razr handset which gobbled up 23 percent of the mobile phone market in 2006. This year, Motorola slipped to third position in global mobile-phone sales, trailing behind Samsung Electronics Co. in second while Apple Inc.'s was the winner with its popular iPhone.

I went to the board over the period of the last six months and said, 'I think the time is right,' Zander said in a statement.

Citigroup reported that Motorola market share fizzled to less than 14 percent this year when it first missed forecasts for sales and profit.

Shares rose 22 cents to 15 cents, or 0.96 percent to $15.80 at 2:41 p.m. on the New York Stock Exchange.

We certainly have had a very troubling mobile device business, Zander said, pointing out that the company did improve since he took over.

We're a stronger company when it comes to intellectual property and intellectual assets and balance sheets and some of the other things we worked hard on over four years, Zander said.