Freescale (FSL:US) Semiconductor Inc. named Gregg Lowe chief executive officer, hiring him away from Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN:US), where he managed the analog chip business. Freescale shares surged.
Rich Beyer, who said in April he planned to retire as Freescale’s CEO, will remain on the board of directors, the company said today in a statement. Lowe, 49, ran Texas Instruments’s largest business unit, which had $6.38 billion of sales last year, more than Freescale’s total revenue.
Lowe spent 28 years at Texas Instruments, where he began selling products to automakers and later led the analog business for more than a decade. Analog chips go in everything from space hardware to household electronics. Lowe is a “clear loss” for Texas Instruments, where he was a likely successor to CEO Rich Templeton, Romit Shah, an analyst at Nomura Securities International in New York, wrote in a report.
Austin, Texas-based Freescale, the largest supplier of chips to the U.S. automotive industry, is struggling to return to profitability after it was taken private by a group including Blackstone Group LP and TPG Capital. Under Beyer, Freescale reorganized and reduced its debt, enabling it to hold a public share offering last year.
Freescale’s shares (FSL:US) surged 7.7 percent to $9.41 at the close in New York, the biggest gain since Jan. 18.
Texas Instruments added 1.4 percent to $27.48. The company named Brian Crutcher to lead its analog business and Greg Delagi to run its embedded processing unit, the Dallas-based company said in a separate statement today.
Freescale’s board also appointed J. Daniel McCranie non- executive chairman.
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