Freescale Semiconductor Chairman and CEO Michel Mayer will leave his posts as soon as a replacement is found, the company said Friday.

"The time is right for me and my family to take some time off before exploring new challenges. The company is well positioned to continue its transformation," Mayer said in a statement.

Freescale officials didn't respond to requests for comment.

Mayer led the company when it spun off from Motorola's semiconductor group and went public in 2004. He also played a role in Freescale's buyout by four private equity firms in 2006 for $17.6 billion. The equity firms included The Blackstone Group, The Carlyle Group, Permira Funds and Texas Pacific Group.

However, the company has been struggling financially, posting a loss of $525 million on sales of $1.54 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007. For 2007, the company reported a loss of $1.6 billion on net sales of $5.7 billion. Freescale's sales totaled $6.36 billion in 2006.

Since former customer Apple left for Intel, Freescale's key customer remains Motorola, to which it sells chips for wireless handsets, networking infrastructure and other devices such as set-top boxes. Motorola, which is struggling financially and saw a management shakeup in recent months, is considering spinning off its handset business. Ed Zander announced in December that he would step down as Motorola's CEO.