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The company also announced that Hunkapiller has been replaced by Catherine Burzik, former executive vice president and COO.
An Applera spokesman told GenomeWeb News that Hunkapiller's decision to retire was a personal one, adding that "the exact timing of Mike's decision to retire was his." The spokesman said that the board of directors of Applera was first made aware of Hunkapiller's plan to retire just before a regularly scheduled board meeting held late last week.
The spokesman said that Hunkapiller was not available for comment.
"The company is indebted to Mike for his many pioneering contributions over the past two decades," Tony White, CEO of Applera, said in a statement. "Cathy Burzik joined us in September 2003 from Johnson & Johnson where she was president of their Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics business. Cathy has extensive operating experience in running complex global businesses, and we look forward to her leadership and contributions to Applied Biosystems going forward," he added.
The Applera spokesman noted that Burzik would also continue to act as the interim president of ABI's molecular biology division until a replacement can be found. "That search is on right now," he said.