* Jon Rubinstein to succeed Ed Colligan on June 12
* Ex-Apple exec is frontman for Palm's new Pre phone
* Colligan to join Elevation Partners after a break
* Palm shares up 3.4 percent after closing down 5.6 pct
(Adds analyst comment, background, byline)
By Alexei Oreskovic
SAN FRANCISCO, June 10 Palm Inc PALM.O named
Jon Rubinstein as its CEO on Wednesday, hoping the former Apple
executive can usher in a new era for the company seeking to
revive its fortunes with a fresh smartphone launched last
Rubinstein, who was brought in as Palm's executive chairman
when Elevation Partners bought a stake in the company in 2007,
has appeared to be the frontman for the new Pre phone,
appearing at industry conferences and touring retail outlets.
He will become chief executive on June 12, succeeding Ed
Colligan, a 16-year Palm veteran who will take some time off
and then join Elevation, Palm said in a statement.
"Rubinstein has been a product guy, a consumer guy who gets
what the product has to be," said Avian Securities analyst
Matthew Thornton, adding that the change in leadership was not
a complete shock to investors.
Shares of Palm rose 3.4 percent to $12.40 in after-hours
trading, after falling 5.6 percent in Nasdaq trade.
Palm pioneered the market for handheld digital devices in
the 1990s, but it has fallen behind competitors like Apple Inc
(AAPL.O) and Research in Motion Ltd RIM.TO in recent years.
Rubinstein joined Palm in October 2007 after Elevation
Partners bought a 25 percent stake for $325 million.
"This has been their guy," said Thornton. "From an
execution standpoint, he's probably the guy they want to lead
the next leg of growth.
Palm was early to the market for smartphones, which combine
a cellphone and a personal digital assistant into one device,
with its Treo product. But the company's products have fallen
out of favor as RIM's BlackBerry and Apple's iPhone have gained
share in the smartphone market.
The news of Rubinstein's appointment came days after Palm
released the Pre on Saturday, considered the company's best
chance to compete against Apple and its popular iPhone.
Shares of Palm have fallen this week amid concerns that
sales of the highly anticipated new phone, which has garnered
good reviews, may be hampered by supply constraints. Apple's
price cut on its year-old iPhone could also hurt sales,
analysts say. [ID:nN09199699]
(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Richard Chang, Gary