MADISON, Wis.—Cypress Semiconductor Corp.’s CEO T.J. Rodgers will this week retire from the top position he held at the company he founded 34 years ago.
Cypress said it is launching a CEO search to replace Rodgers. In the interim, four current Cypress executive vice presidents will compose an Office of the CEO to manage the company’s daily operational activities. The group consists of Hassane El-Khoury (EVP, Programmable Systems Division), Dana Nazarian (EVP, Memory Products Division), Joe Rauschmayer (EVP, Manufacturing) and Thad Trent (CFO).
Rodgers, one of the most outspoken libertarian CEOs in Silicon Valley, was known for his “tell-it-like-it-is” straight talk long before this sort of communication style attained a measure of popularity in the current presidential election cycle.
Rodgers, who turned 68 in March, isn’t leaving Cypress. He will remain on the Cypress Board as a project leader working on key technical projects, the company said.
Instead of the usual boilerplate that marks a CEO’s stepping down, Rodgers said in the company press release, “…And to be completely candid, the board and even the executive staff have urged me to bring new blood into operations.”
Speaking of his new role at Cypress, Rodgers said, “…I will now be able to work full time on the technology that has fascinated me since my mother first kindled my interest in electronics when I was a fifth-grader.” Rodgers added, “I have always reserved about 30 percent of my time to work on technology and one key project. This activity adds value to the company and remains of high interest to me at this stage of my career. In the future Cypress management will be able to assign a key project to me and count on it getting done right.”
After the successful merger with Spansion, Cypress, with Rodgers at its helm, spent the last 12 months focused on high-profile bidding wars, first to acquire Integrated Silicon Solutions Inc. (ISSI) and then to buy Atmel. Both times, Cypress failed in attempts to counter-bid.
Profiled back in 1991 by Business Week as “The Bad Boy of Silicon Valley,” Rodgers, coming out of Stanford University with a master’s and PhD in electrical engineering, became the poster child for Silicon Valley enterprise in the 1990s.
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