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Illness Sidelines Affymetrix President Susan Siegel

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 28 - Affymetrix President Susan Siegel has temporarily stepped down from her management duties due to health reasons, the company said last week.


CEO Stephen Fodor will oversee Siegel's management functions in the interim, according to a company spokesperson.


The spokesperson would not disclose details of Siegel's health situation or when she might return to her responsibilities, saying only that the company is "looking forward to a speedy recovery."


Affy disclosed the move last week in its third-quarter earnings statement but did not directly inform staffers of Siegel's illness or temporary leave, according to a source inside the company. "I found out when the public found out," said an employee who asked for anonymity. "There was no internal announcement."


"Like many people here, I'm concerned," the staffer added.


Company spokeswoman Anne Bowdidge stressed it would be "business as usual" for the company. "We built up a very strong management team [and] our strategy is very clear going forward," she said.


Siegel, whose age was listed as 41 in a 10K financial statement filed in April, was promoted to president in August 1999 after serving as senior vice president of marketing and sales, a position created for her in April 1998.


"I'm not worried" about Siegel's absence," said Lakshmi Bhojraj, an analyst with Salomon Smith Barney. "The leader is important but at this point in their business cycle it's more about the product. I think given the fundamental trends in their business, they are growing rapidly, the business is healthy. It's all ultimately about the product, and it's doing really well."


The market is growing at 25 to 30 percent per year, she added.

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