No other details have been released yet, but the company is expected to provide additional information in a statement later today.
Micron's board of directors said in a statement, "Steve's passion and energy left an indelible mark on Micron, the Idaho community and the technology industry at large."
The Wall Street Journal reports that Micron shares have been halted, although its stock was up 3 percent prior to the news.
The resounding response from the tech and financial services communities was that Appleton was the force behind Micron.
Regional brokerage and investment banking firm Stifel Nicolaus published the following note:
Today Micron announced that Chairman and CEO Steven Appleton passed away this morning in a small plane accident in Boise, Idaho. We are deeply saddened at the loss of Steve Appleton. Steve was a high energy and inspirational leader that transformed Micron into its world leadership position despite all odds. Mr. Appleton will be missed by all in the high tech industry. In our view, Micron has a very deep bench of managers that shared Steve's vision. We believe the company's momentum will continue.
As did Wells Fargo:
In our opinion, Mr. Appleton played a huge part in building Micron into the major company it is today.
We believe that Micron has great depth of management, and do not expect this development will change Micron's ability to effectively run its business in the future.
Micron is a Boise-based enterprise, specializing in developing advanced memory and semiconductor technologies, including DRAM, NAND Flash and solid state storage.
Appleton joined Micron in 1983 and has held a series of C-level offices. In 1991, he was appointed president and chief operating officer of Micron, and in 1994 he was appointed to the position of chairman, chief executive officer and president. He assumed his current position in 2007.
Along with being a member of the World Semiconductor Council, Appleton was also serving on the board of directors for the Semiconductor Industry Association and National Semiconductor Incorporated. He also served on the Idaho Business Council.
Appleton received a bachelor of business administration degree from Boise State University in 1982 and an honorary doctorate from Boise State University in 2007.
The Associated Press also reports that Appleton was an avid pilot, who suffered injuries in a previous plane crash in 2004.
Appleton is survived by his wife, Dalynn, and his children.
Image via Micron
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