04/16/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Motorola Exec Refuses To Cut Hair Until Stock Goes Up

It's quite a tale of a tail.

At a meeting of Motorola Inc. executives in May 2000, Patrick Canavan loudly announced that he wouldn't cut his hair until the company's share price matched its all-time high of about $60 reached earlier that year. (The figure reflects a subsequent stock split.) Growing a ponytail represented "a symbol of confidence in the company," recalls Mr. Canavan, then its senior vice president for corporate governance.

Nearly eight years later, Motorola shares are languishing more than 80% below Mr. Canavan's target. He's twice lowered the goal, and employed some financial hair-splitting to avoid shears. When it's wet, his hair now stretches halfway down his back.

Mr. Canavan first lowered his goal to $28 in 2003. With Motorola's stock around $23 in September 2005, Mr. Canavan agreed, at the urging of then-Chief Executive Edward Zander, to reduce the target again, to $25. He announced the change in an email to Mr. Zander, titled "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.''

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