The Assumptive Close

37 years ago the Semiconductor Industry Association was founded. The SIA web-site states that the co-founders were Bob Noyce, CEO of Intel, Wilf Corrigan, CEO of Fairchild, Charlie Sporck, CEO of National and Jerry Sanders, CEO of AMD. But it wasn’t quite as simple as that.

“The first meeting of the SIA met at Ming’s (a Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto),” recalls Corrigan, “it was at a time of violent disagreements between the CEOs of the companies, none of the guys was going to let any of the others be the chairman.”

“Noyce was the automatic choice but Noyce said: ‘I’ll join, but I’m not going to be chairman.’”

“TI wasn’t joining anything,” adds Corrigan, “Fred Bucy (TI’s CEO at the time) wanted to take over everything. We decided we had to let Motorola in.”

“So we all turned to Sanders and said: ‘You should get John Welty at Motorola.’”

“Sanders said: ‘I’m going to use the assumptive close.’”

“We all asked him: ‘What’s that?’”

“’I’m not going to ask him if he’ll join”, replied Sanders, “I want authorisation from you all to offer him the chairmanship of the organisation. I want to tell him: ‘We’ve all looked at this, and think you’re the right man to be chairman.’”

“Welty went for it,” concludes Corrigan, “so the question of whether Motorola should join or not never came up.”

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