More evidence of internal struggles at Micron Technology Inc.'s highest levels came Monday as director Allen T. Noble resigned from the company's board of directors.
Noble, president of Farm Development Corp., has served on Micron's board since 1980.Noble and Steve Appleton, chairman and chief executive officer, apparently crossed swords over sale of Micron stock, though Noble denied that at a shareholders' meeting Jan. 29.
"That's good news for Steve, I guess," said Len Hills, an analyst with Competitive Strategies in San Jose. "Now that Allen Noble has resigned, Steve Appleton is apparently in control and things are looking up for Micron again."
Appleton made only brief remarks about the situation in a statement released by the Boise-based computer chip manufacturing company.
"We are very appreciative of Allen's contribution," Appleton said. "He was one of the original investors in Micron Technology, and his support played a significant role in our success."
Noble served on the audit and compensation committees at the company, and owns about 2 million shares of Micron stock.
His seat on the audit committee will be filled by board member Jerry Hess. Micron has not announced a board replacement.
If, as many analysts believe, there was a struggle between Appleton and Noble, Appleton is clearly the victor.
Hills said Noble's resignation is "fairly significant" because it signals that Micron's board is easing its grip on the company's direction and letting the "people in the trenches" hold more sway.
Hills specifically referred to Appleton, who the board apparently wants to keep happy. Appleton resigned from his position at the company Jan. 18 over some undisclosed dispute - only to return eight days later.
Appleton said then that "overwhelming support from the management team and board of directors" made him reconsider his resignation.