Steve Appleton, chief executive officer of Micron Technology for nearly 18 years, passed away on Friday in a plane crash. Mr. Appleton was among the most respected executives in the semiconductor industry at large. The head of Micron was 51 years old.
"We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Appleton, Micron chairman and CEO, passed away this morning in a small plane accident in Boise, Idaho. Our hearts go out to his wife, Dalynn, his children and his family during this tragic time. Steve's passion and energy left an indelible mark on Micron, the Idaho community and the technology industry at large," a statement by Micron reads.
Steve Appleton started his career at Micron shortly after graduation in 1983 - working the night shift in production, according to an entry in Wikipedia. He held a variety of positions in the company, including wafer fab manager, production manager, director of manufacturing, and vice president of manufacturing before being appointed president and chief operating officer in 1991. He was appointed to the position of CEO in 1994.
Under Steve Appleton's leadership, Micron Technology not only survived a number of global crisis periods in different industries, including DRAM, NAND, etc., but became stronger by absorbing more businesses, technologies and capabilities. Mr. Appleton will be remembered as one of the most successful semiconductor industry leader.
"Steve was a high-energy, never-give-up type of inspirational leader of the company. The entire industry will miss Steve's energy. That said, Micron has a deep bench of managers that shared Steve's vision," said Stifel Nicolaus, an analyst with Kevin Cassidy.