McNealy steps aside as Sun CEO

Scott McNealy has stepped down as chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems, but he remains chairman of the company and has acquired a new role as chairman of Sun Federal.

Sun’s board of directors named Jonathan Schwartz the new CEO, a move the company said is a part of its succession planning process. Schwartz joined Sun in 1996, through the acquisition of Lighthouse Design. McNealy had been CEO since 1984.

The management change followed Sun’s earnings report for the quarter that ended in March. The company announced a net loss of $217 million for the quarter, attributing the shortfall to acquisitions. Revenue increased 21 percent, a rise the company said also reflected acquisition activity.

Sun’s stock price, which peaked above $60 per share in 2000, has been trading below $6 per share for months. Stock analysts have questioned the company’s growth prospects in recent months.

Sun’s government operation has contended with intense competition and reduced spending, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. But Schwartz said in a prepared statement that he is pleased with customer acceptance of the company’s products in the markets it serves, including the government.

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