WASHINGTON – Gregg Lowe, the former manager of the analog business at Texas Instruments, has been tapped as the next CEO and president of Freescale Semiconductor Inc., the company announced Tuesday (June 5).Lowe
, 49, previously served as a senior vice president at Dallas-based Texas Instruments where he managed the chip maker’s analog business, its largest division. He replaces Rich Beyer
, Freescale’s former chairman and CEO, who will remain on the board of Freescale (Austin, Texas). Lowe's appointment takes effect immediately, Freescale said.
The company also said J. Daniel McCranie has been appointed as a non-executive chairman of Freescale’s board of directors. “Gregg is a proven leader and his extensive semiconductor experience makes him uniquely qualified to build upon Freescale's strong foundation, leading the company to our next stage of growth,” McCranie said in a statement.
Lowe was not immediately available to comment on his new position.
In a 2009 interview with EE Times
, Lowe described the analog chip market as “the most fragmented of the segment of all the semiconductor markets.” In discussing TI’s acquisition strategy, Lowe predicted at the time that “the analog market is probably going to consolidate around a couple of strong providers….”
Initial industry reaction to Lowe's appointment was mixed. Ross Seymore, a semiconductor industry analyst at Deutsche Bank Securities, called the move "clearly a step in the right direction" for Freescale. Lowe is "an ideal replacement for Rich Beyer and should boost Freescale's efforts in key markets such as analog and embedding processing," Seymore said in a note to customers.
Steve Ohr, an analog semiconductor analyst at Gartner Inc., said he was surprised by the move. "My understanding was that Gregg Lowe was being groomed to take over as CEO of TI when [current CEO] Rich Templeton decides to retire," Ohr said. "So, do you want to be CEO of a $13 billion company or a $5.5 billion company?'
Ohr also noted that Freescale again selected a CEO with a strong analog background even though it has previously shown a reluctance to wade deeper into the analog market. Beyer was CEO of Intersil Corp. prior to joining Freescale.
Lowe joined TI in 1984 focusing on its growing automotive electronics business. He spent more than a decade managing TI’s European operations. He returned to the U.S. in 1994 to manage the company’s microcontroller operations. Lowe also led TI global ASIC organization until 2001, when he assumed several executive positions in its key analog business units.
Lowe holds a bachelors degree in electrical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind.
Beyer, 63, announced plans to step down as Freescale’s CEO in April. He joined the company in 2008. He continues to serve as chairman of the Semiconductor Industry Association.--Dylan McGrath contributed to this report from San Francisco