LONDON -- With the news that Pasquale Pistorio, president and chief executive officer of STMicroelectronics, would not seek to renew his employment contract when it expires in May 2005, thoughts inevitably turn to who will replace him.
Silicon Strategies has come up with five candidates to take the top job. They include the French and Italian Princes and the French and Italian Wise Counsellors, but we also encourage Silicon Strategies' readers to have their own say.
In alphabetical order our tips are:
Carlo Bozotti, corporate vice president general manager memory products group - the 'Italian prince'.
Bozotti was born in Noviglio, near Milan, Italy, in 1952 and graduated in electronic engineering at the University of Pavia in 1976 with a thesis on very high voltage switching transistors.
Some time ago the word was that Bozotti was being groomed for the top job. He now has operational experience under his belt with the memory group, but not the highest profile.
Alain Dutheil, corporate vice president strategic planning and human resources.
Born in 1945 in Martigues, France, Dutheil is an engineering graduate from the Ecole Superieure d'Ingenieurs of Marseilles, France. Dutheil came to STMicroelectronics via Thomson Semiconducteurs, which he joined in 1983 as plant manager of the Aix-en-Provence plant in France.
In Dutheil's favor is extensive operational and divisional experience. At 58 Dutheil is part of the French counterbalance to Pistorio's Italian flair.
Philippe Geyres, corporate vice president general manager consumer and microcontroller groups: 'The Dauphin'.
Philippe Geyres was born in Paris in 1952 and graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique of Paris in 1973. He is therefore about the same age as Bozotti but, like Dutheil, came to STMicroelectronics via Thomson Semiconducteurs. Geyres was appointed director of Thomson Semiconducteurs' bipolar IC division in October 1983.
He now has more than a decade's experience leading STMicroelectronics' consumer and microcontroller groups that create differentiated products for digital consumer, cameras, set-top-box and television applications as well as its microcontroller ranges.
If it is France's 'turn' to lead the Franco-Italian chipmaker, Geyres may have an inside line.
Aldo Romano, corporate vice-president, general manager of telecommunications, peripherals and automotive groups and managing director of STMicroelectronics srl.
Born in Genoa, Italy, in 1940, Aldo Romano graduated cum laude in electronic engineering at the University of Padua in 1963. Two years later he joined SGS Microelettronica as a designer of linear integrated circuits.
With nearly forty years before the STMicroelectronics' mast and now responsible for a major part of the multibillion company's turnover, Romano is perhaps today's natural number two to Pistorio. But counting against Romano is that he is of the same generation as Pistorio.
The most unlikely possibility and what European would be qualified to lead the show?
So what will happen?
Possibly one of the 'princes' would be brought in as a chief operating officer to "learn the ropes" under Pasquale Pistorio, prior to his stepping down in May 2005.
The second possibility is that Dutheil will take-over in 2005 and run the show for a couple of years while the succession -- Bozotti or Geyres -- is determined. This has the advantage of giving France its turn at running Europe's leading chipmaker, and could open up the way for Bozotti to take Italy's turn after that.
A third possibility is that senior management and supervisory board of STMicroelectronics will conclude that Pasquale Pistorio is an almost impossible act to follow and will not seek to set someone up to do so. Instead it will promote a more collegiate style of consensus management that taps into the capabilities of all its senior management.
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