Micron Technologies' board of directors have appointed Mark Durcan to head the company. Durcan's placement as chief executive follows the tragic demise of Micron's former CEO this weekend, Steve Appleton. The new chief executive will also continue to serve on the board of the board of directors.

Steve Appleton died on Friday shortly after taking off. His small, propeller-driven craft crash landed near a runway at Boise Airport, Idaho. Appleton was alone on the flight.

The former CEO was a seasoned pilot and often criticized for his high-risk passion for stunt flying after surviving a similar incident in 2004. However, in a stark contrast to this weekend's crash, Appleton and his passenger managed to walk away with surprisingly minor injuries.

Appleton has been applauded for contributing to and refining the semi-conductor industry, working with Intel to improve chip fabrication techniques and keeping Micron relevant despite stiff overseas competition. Just a few months ago, Appleton won a highly esteemed Robert N. Noyce medal for his industry and policy changing contributions. The medal itself shares the same name as one of the co-founders of the microprocessor, Robert Noyce and Jack Kilby.

Despite his recent accolade and earning the admiration of his peers through serving 20 years at Micron's helm, Forbes ironically ranked Appleton as the worst performing CEO of 2006. His position in this unsavory list was calculated by a formula that takes into account company growth, compensation and other factors.

Durcan joined the company as an engineer in 1984, eventually climbing the ranks to COO in 2007.