Memory company Micron Technology has appointed Mark Durcan as its new CEO, quickly replacing the former CEO Steve Appleton who died in a plane crash on Friday.

Durcan, until now president and chief operating officer at Micron, will assume the role of CEO immediately. He joined Micron in 1984 and was appointed interim CEO by the company's board after news of Appleton's death on Feb 3.

Appleton, a highly respected executive in the semiconductor industry, died at age 51 after his single-engine prop Lancair experimental aircraft crashed between two runways in Boise, Idaho.

"We are deeply saddened by Steve's loss and will miss his hand at the helm. I have provided the Board my ongoing commitment to work with the management team and continue to move the company forward," Durcan said in a statement.

In a research report issued after Appleton's death, Objective Analysis predicted that Durcan would be chosen as the new CEO. The question is whether he can keep Micron at the same level of success as Appleton, the research firm said.

Micron currently sells flash storage and DRAM modules, and is also experimenting with new forms of memory such as phase-change memory and Hybrid Memory Cube.

Durcan was planning to retire at the end of August, and it is not known yet if he still intends to do that. Mark Adams, vice president of worldwide sales at Micron, has been appointed president of the company.