Robin Abrams, president and chief executive officer of Verifone Inc., is about to fill one of the most talked-about job openings in Silicon Valley.

3Com Corp. announced her appointment Tuesday as senior vice president of the company and president of its Palm Computing division, the top producer of hand-held computing devices. The move from one Santa Clara, Calif., company to another takes effect Feb. 12.

Ms. Abrams, 47, spent the early part of her career with Norwest Bank of Minneapolis, then worked internationally for Unisys Corp. and Apple Computer Inc. She joined Verifone in March 1997, and 13 months later rose to CEO.

3Com's search for a successor to Donna Dubinsky, who helped start Palm before 3Com bought it, took more than six months.

Palm is working with "more than 15,000 solutions partners and developers in an emerging Palm Computing economy," said Janice Roberts, 3Com senior vice president of business development. "Robin is a talented and charismatic leader who will enable the team to continue to extend Palm's reach and expand its leadership position."

At Verifone, chief financial officer Ken Wach is serving as acting general manager.

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