CHICAGO - Billionaire financier Carl Icahn was not elected to Motorola Inc.'s board of directors, according to preliminary results released last night by the cell phone maker.
Final results from yesterday's shareholder vote could takes weeks to tabulate, the company said in a statement.
Speaking at Motorola's annual meeting in downtown Chicago, Icahn acknowledged a likely defeat in a fierce proxy fight, saying he did not believe he had acquired enough support from shareholders to be elected to the company's board of directors.
"I think it'll be tough for me to win," Icahn said before the tally was released. "I congratulate them if they win. And I really hope they can produce what they say they will."
Motorola, the world's second-largest handset manufacturer behind Nokia Corp., did not release vote totals. The company is based in Schaumburg, Ill., a Chicago suburb.
CEO Ed Zander said in a statement after the vote that he "valued" Icahn's input and that the beleaguered company would continue working to fix its finances.
"During the past few months, we have met with and listened to a large number of our stockholders, including Mr. Icahn, and we value their insights and perspective regarding Motorola," he said. "We remain steadfast in our commitment to continue building value for all of our stockholders."
Icahn and his affiliates have amassed a 2.9 percent stake in Motorola and spent months trying to convince shareholders that he could turn around its ailing fortunes. Motorola posted its first quarterly loss since 2004 last month and since October has lost about one-third of its market value.
Icahn criticized Zander for Motorola's dramatic fall from its once-golden status, and he said the board should replace him if he was unable to fix the company's financial hemorrhaging.
"What I wanted to do with Motorola was go on this board just to make sure, to make sure that this board is going to make management accountable," Icahn said. "I think Motorola is a great company. And a great deal can be done. But I don't know if it can happen without somebody there to make sure that the numbers are being met."
Zander said yesterday that he was confident the company would be able to repair its mobile-device division, which has suffered as sales of its Razr phone declined.
"In 2004 and 2005 and most of 2006, this is the vision that knocked the cover off the ball," he said. "We have to get it back on track."
Zander said the company planned to introduce new handheld devices next week in New York that it hoped would help begin its transformation.
Icahn's bid even divided leading proxy advisory firms, which lined up in opposing camps last month - two recommending that shareholders vote for the dissident investor and a third siding with Motorola.
Motorola had been on a two-year hot streak, thanks to the popularity of its Razr phones. Then it aggressively cut prices of Razrs and other high-end phones, especially in emerging markets, to boost market share. Profits dropped steeply.
Last month, Motorola posted its first quarterly loss since 2004 amid dismal sales in its largest segment, mobile devices. The company has reshuffled management and announced in January it would cut 3,500 jobs, or about 5 percent of its workforce, as it tried it to reduce operating costs.
Motorola stock was unchanged at $18.08 yesterday.