Micron CEO Appleton dies in plane crash

Micron CEO Appleton dies in plane crash

Summary: Micron Technology CEO and chairman Steve Appleton died on Friday after a small plane accident in Boise. He was 51.

SHARE:

Micron Technology CEO and chairman Steve Appleton died on Friday after a small plane accident in Boise. He was 51.

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

Related:

Topics: IBM, Apple, Hardware, Intel, iPad, Storage, Tablets, PCs, Web development

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

12 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Micron CEO Appleton dies in plane crash

    According to Bloomberg TV, he was flying an experimental aircraft. Always a big risk.

    Very sad.
    IT_Fella
    • RE: Micron CEO Appleton dies in plane crash

      @IT_Fella <br><br>Fate of singer-songwriter John Denver likewise, now 15 years back. Lost control of his experimental Rutan canard near Pacific Grove, CA. <br><br>Risky indeed.
      klumper
    • I don't think that word means what you think it means

      "Experimental" aircraft are simply planes that have not gone through the certification process. Since it takes many millions of dollars and years to certify a new aircraft design, many smaller manufacturers bypass the process and sell their models as experimentals. Most are sold as kits, which also relieves the company of much of the liability burden. Pretty much all planes start out this way, from the smallest Cessnas or Pipers to the biggest jumbo and military jets. Appleton was flying a Lancair, which is a sweet high performance plane. One of their earlier designs is now certified and manufactured by Cessna as their 350 and 400 models.

      I bring this up because the general public believes that experimental means a risky new design that is being flown by a test pilot or a fool. There are many experimental designs on the market that have been flying safely for years by thousands of pilots. While Appleton was wealthy and could afford to fly anything he wanted, for many of us the experimental kit market offers a wide variety of proven aircraft in a price range we can afford. There is also the satisfaction of flying a plane we built ourselves, a concept that any PC homebuilder would certainly understand.
      itpro_z
    • Not all experimentals are created equal

      @itpro_z<br><br>I can appreciate your comments, but it goes without saying that not all things are created equal. That includes experimental aircraft.<br><br>Flying an assembled kit already raises the bar on risk a bit. Not so much for the dedicated or experienced builder and enthusiast, but basically for any other. In Denver's case, his craft was modified just enough as to be considered dangerous. Unfortunately he ran low on fuel and needed to switch tanks in flight. In doing so, he lost control of his bird.<br><br>He was actually trying to reach the fuel flow selector switch which was a non-standard handle installed in the wall behind his (the pilot's) left shoulder, rather than in the dashboard as is customary. This forced him to unbuckle his safety harness and reach back behind him. In doing so, his right foot apparently pushed the rudder peddle to the metal, causing the plane to stall and dive. <br><br>It's the idiosyncrasies of uniquely-assembled experimental aircraft that make them more risky. Some, depending on the degree of modifications or customizations made, amount to disasters waiting to happen. Difference between one of these and a home built PC is the latter won't take your life down with them when things go wrong.
      klumper
      • John Denver

        @klumper, I agree that the unusual positioning of the fuel tank selector was a contributing factor in Denver's crash, but the accident was avoidable. We are taught in flight training to always verify the fuel levels before taking off. Denver had already flown the plane, a Long EZ, and landed safely before the crash. He had opportunity to check his fuel, but in his excitement at getting a new plane he took off again without doing so. When his selected tank ran dry, his unfamiliarity with the aircraft lead to his stall while attempting to switch tanks. Another contributing factor was his low altitude, which allowed him no time to recover from the inadvertant stall. Had he remembered and followed his training might still be with us today.

        Some experimentals are unsafe, just as some certified aircraft are due to lack of maintenance or pilot experience. When all the statistics are added up, running out of fuel or oil accounts for over 70% of all small plane accidents. Another 20% or so has to do with flying the plane into unsafe weather conditions. Do the math and you find that over 90% of accidents causing serious injury or fatality are avoidable if the pilot makes sound decisions. Flying is safe, even in experimental aircraft, if the pilot properly maintains his aircraft, keeps his skills current, and exercises reasonable caution.
        itpro_z
      • Human error, the curse of all

        @itpro_z <br><br>The stats you provide basically align to those of the bigger commercial craft also, where once again pilot error contributes to the majority of accidents. <br><br>What you added about Mr. Denver basically completes the story. His relative inexperience with the plane, the low altitude he happened to be at, and of course the low fuel level upon takeoff. By way of footnote, he was actually looking forward to buzzing Clint Eastwood's home in the area, as apparently they were buds.<br><br>Your words re appropriate safeguards are on the mark.
        klumper
      • Apparently, the placement of the fuel flow selector

        @klumper
        behind the pilot deviated from the original design specification by Scaled Composites.
        Tim Cook
      • Not well placed

        @Mister Spock<br><br>In Denver's case, I'd say it was 40% pilot error, and 60% plane modification. He wasn't the first pilot to have difficulties with that experimental craft and its unique switch. The switch, which was actually a handle, was not only in a poorly placed location, it apparently was a sonofab*tch to crank. Denver and an assistant had earlier tried to put a vice grip on it to ease the task.<br><br>The fuel valve's orientation wasn't synced logically to the plane's fuel tanks to boot. Thus turning the handle to the right actually turned on the left fuel tank. Not good if you didn't know better, or were in a panic.<br><br>Sadly the first owner and builder put it there with the best of intentions. He wanted to eliminate any chance of fuel leaking into the cockpit, should the line or fittings fail. In doing so, he vanquished one problem only to create another. Net result was the loss of a world class musician.<br><br>Will be interesting to see if any further details come out regarding Appleton's demise.
        klumper
  • For a second I thought it said Microsoft CEO dies in plane crash

    and I was about to call my broker and buy 2500 MSFT calls.
    HollywoodDog
    • If that were the case, the line would have been busy

      @HollywoodDog <br><br>He'd be making his own deals. ;)
      klumper
    • RE: Micron CEO Appleton dies in plane crash

      @HollywoodDog

      Lame.
      Hallowed are the Ori