AUSTIN, Tex. -- Fred Tucker, the new president of Motorola Inc.'s semiconductor sector, is expected to continue the operation's strategic course because he was directly involved in setting the strategy as corporate executive vice president and deputy to the Office of the CEO, said a company spokesman here today.
"He is very committed to the strategic direction that has been set here," assured the spokesman, who added that Tucker was not yet available for interviews, but would be talking to the press in the next couple days.
Tucker was abruptly named president of Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector on Tuesday after Hector de J. Ruiz resigned to become president and chief operating officer at Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (see Jan. 25 story). The sudden change in command raised questions about Motorola's plans to continue a number of new strategies put in place by Ruiz while restructuring the semiconductor sector during the past three years.
One key question centers around Motorola's plans to shift more of its wafer processing to third-party foundries. About 50% of Motorola's chips are expected to be fabricated by outside foundries and joint-venture fabs by 2002.
"I am very concerned about Motorola's foundry plans because that's a lot of capacity to turn over to third-party manufacturers and we have not see this kind of model tested in a strong upturn," cautioned Danny Lam, director of Fisher-Holstein Inc., a Delaware-based semiconductor consulting. "The question is whether or not Motorola will be able to get what it needs from foundries in the coming cycle. I'm not convinced it will work they way they think."
But it's not likely that Tucker will change Motorola's foundry plans. The Motorola semiconductor spokesman today said Tucker was involved in approving manufacturing strategy as well as other major changes to the chip unit during Ruiz's three-year tenure as sector president. Tucker will continue to hold the position of deputy to the Office the CEO while serving as Motorola's semiconductor president, said the spokesman.
Tucker--a 34-year veteran of Motorola--is no stranger to the semiconductor arm of the company. He was general manager of Motorola's Bipolar Analog IC Division in Phoenix during the 1980s. Tucker has also been president and general manager of what is now Motorola's Integrated Electronics Systems Sector, and he was executive vice president and general manager of the Automotive and Industrial Group.
While announcing Tucker's new appointment, Motorola CEO Robert Growney gave his support for the semiconductor sector's strategy and current management team. "Fred will join the SPS Semiconductor Products Sector management team in continuing to drive Motorola leadership in embedded solutions-on-a-chip and software while sustaining the positive SPS momentum of improvement in market focus and financial performance of our semiconductor operations," Growney said.
In 1996, Motorola's chip revenues were about $8.1 billion worldwide, making the company No.3 in chip sales. After restructuring itself, selling off some operations and closing others in the past three years, Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector had revenues of $6.43 billion in 1999, making it No.6 in the chip industry, based on recent estimates by Dataquest (see Jan. 6 story).