Intel Exec Named Cadence CEO

The man in charge of Intel’s Itanium and Xeon product lines has cashed in his chips for the opportunity to lead Cadence Design Systems .

Both companies said Mike Fister has been named as CEO of the San Jose, Calif.-based electronic design firm.

“Mike has made significant contributions throughout his career at Intel and we are sorry to see him leave,” Intel CEO Craig Barrett said in a statement. “Under his leadership, Intel has become the leading supplier of components for enterprise systems worldwide. We thank him for his contributions and wish him well in his new position.”

Fister succeeds Ray Bingham, who has been elected chairman of the Cadence Board of Directors. Former chairman Don Lucas is expected to continue on the Board as a director.

During Fister’s tenure, Intel introduced the Itanium processor family and brought it into prominence. He was also responsible for the design, development, and marketing of IA-32 processors, including the last versions of the Intel 486, as well as Pentium Pro, Pentium II, Pentium III, Celeron, Pentium II Xeon, and Pentium III Xeon processors.

“Mike brings a combination of deep design and semiconductor manufacturing expertise and leadership experience at one of Intel’s largest business groups,” Bingham said in a statement. “He was a driving force in elevating Intel’s position to that of a trusted advisor and true partner with its
customers. With Mike on board, we have the opportunity to solidify a similar
position for Cadence.”

Cadence also said its Board named Roger Siboni, chairman and former CEO
of E.piphany, to be lead director. Siboni is a current board member and
chairs its audit committee.

Cadence regularly competes with Synopsys in the electronic design
automation (EDA) market. The company’s portfolio includes software and
hardware products for designing semiconductors and electronic systems used
in mobile and wireless devices, computer systems, networking equipment, and
other applications. The company also offers consulting, design, and
maintenance services.

As for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip making giant, Intel named
Abhijit (Abhi) Talwalkar as vice president and general manager of the
Enterprise Platforms Group (EPG), covering Fister’s old responsibilities.
The division designs, markets, and supports building blocks for enterprise
computing. In addition to Itanium, EPG covers IA-32 Xeon processors,
chipsets, boards/systems, and software tools and services. Talwalkar
recently served as a vice president in the EPG and as a general manager in
Intel’s Platform Products Group, which focuses on the design of processors,
chipsets and platforms for workstations and servers.

Talwalkar is facing a tough road with Itanium. Sales hit 100,000 units in
2003, but the chips compete with RISC-based architectures such as IBM’s
POWER series and Sun Microsystems’
UltraSPARC. Intel has focused on capturing the higher- end business for
servers because Itanium chips sell for as much as 10 times the price of the
Pentium 4 used in PCs. But according to the latest stats from Gartner,
Intel’s Itanium chip makes up less than 5 percent of the high-end market.
That crown goes to Sun, witch has about 56 percent market share followed by
IBM with 24 percent.

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