The new boss of ST-Ericsson is in his 50s. The out-going CEO is also in his 50s. Both have
a list of qualifications as long as your arm but both lack a key ingredient for running a chip company – youth.
The founders of Fairchild were in their 20s when they revolutionized the semiconductor industry, and later the world.
As Silicon Valley spawned company after company to stoke the exploding chip industry, the
founders of these companies were guys in their 20s and 30s.
The young had the energy to work long hours, the disruptive motivation to prove they were right and their elders wrong, and the ignorance that what they were doing was probably impossible.
It was a young person’s game requiring the brashness and risk-taking of youth.
ST-Ericsson looks like a goner. If it’s going to survive it needs a revolutionary in charge who will set out to do the impossible.
But 50 year-olds don’t usually bet their reputations on a high-risk, high-gain vision of the future.