Altera Corp. has officially named former LSI Logic executive John Daane its new chief executive, as suggested in a report last week in EBN.
Daane replaces Rodney Smith, who said last year he intended to retire as head of the San Jose-based PLD company. Smith will stay on as chairman of the board.
Daane takes the helm at Altera at a time when the company is struggling to keep pace with its main rival, Xilinx Inc., and both companies strive to evolve PLDs into system-on-a-chip vehicles.
Despite an aggressive product rollout, Altera has steadily lost market share to Xilinx since early this year, after a glitch in its PLD design software put a crimp in sales of high-end devices.
Efforts to regain traction have been frustrated by an inventory correction at key customers. (See story on page 1.)
Though Altera looked at internal candidates, a system-level background like Daane's was considered essential to steer the company deeper into the networking arena.
"John's in-depth knowledge of the semiconductor industry, and the ASIC market in particular, will be invaluable in leading Altera's growth as we focus on system-on-a-programmable-chip solutions for the communications market," Smith said in a statement.
Daane, once thought to be in line to succeed Wilfred Corrigan as chief executive of LSI Logic Corp., Milpitas, Calif., is largely credited with that company's transformation from an ASIC supplier to a leading player in the communications market. His image as a dynamic, progressive leader is in sharp contrast to Smith's methodical but toned-down style, observers said.
Prior to joining Altera, Daane was executive vice president of the Communications Product Group at LSI Logic. Daane oversaw development of ASIC technology and CoreWare methodology, as well as worldwide design services and field engineering activities.