Steve Appleton, American businessman (Micron Technology), died from a plane crash he was 51
Born and raised in California, Appleton attended Boise State University,
where he was on the tennis team. A lifelong aviation enthusiast, he
died when his single-engine plane crashed shortly after takeoff in
Boise, Idaho, on February 3, 2012.
Appleton started his career at Micron shortly after graduation in
1983, working the night shift in production. He held a variety of
positions in the company, including Wafer Fab manager, Production
Manager, Director of Manufacturing, and Vice President of Manufacturing
before being appointed President and COO in 1991. He was appointed to
the position of CEO and Chairman of the Board in 1994, which he
maintained until his untimely death when the small plane he was piloting
crashed at Boise Airport in 2012. At age 34 he was the third youngest
CEO in the Fortune 500.
He formerly served on the Board of Directors for SEMATECH, the Idaho State Supreme Court Advisory Council and was appointed by the Clinton Administration to serve on the National Semiconductor Technology Council. At the time of his death, he was serving on the Board of Directors for the Semiconductor Industry Association,
and the Board of Directors for National Semiconductor Corporation, The
U.S. Technology CEO Council and was a member of the World Semiconductor
Council and the Idaho Business Council. After his death, Mark Durcan assumed Appleton’s position as CEO of Micron.
Appleton was named among the worst 10 CEOs by a Forbes
magazine web site in 2006, using a formula that some disputed
accurately reflected performance in the very volatile market for MU’s
In 2011 he received the Robert Noyce Award from the Semiconductor Industry Association.
Appleton participated in a number of sports, including professional
tennis. His hobbies included scuba diving, surfing, wakeboarding,
motorcycling and, more recently, off-road car racing. His aviation
background included multiple ratings and professional performances at
air shows in both propeller and jet-powered aircraft. He also had a
black belt in taekwondo.
On February 3, 2012, Appleton was killed while attempting an emergency landing in a Lancair IV-PT experimental-category, four-seat, turboprop airplane at the Boise Airport in Boise, Idaho, moments after taking off. He had aborted a take off a few minutes earlier for unknown reasons.
Prior to this, he had a serious plane crash piloting an Extra 300 in 2004 in which he sustained a punctured lung, head injuries, ruptured disk and broken bones.
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