Verifone Inc., which prides itself on moving at Internet speed, may have outdone itself in the way it just installed a new chief executive officer.

Hatim Tyabji, the payment automation company's leader since 1986 and something of a legend in Silicon Valley entrepreneurial circles, announced March 24 that he intended to retire by yearend. He seemed to have a gradual transition in mind. One of his senior executives guessed the search for a successor would take a short couple of months.

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