If all goes well with the regulators and the lawyers, LSI Logic will slowly disappear over the horizon, going into the history books later this year, reduced to a Silicon Valley afterthought. abhi

Keep in mind, we are talking about two iterations of the company: First, the LSI Logic (NYSE: LSI) created by Wilf Corrigan 33 years ago; and second the present day LSI Corporation (NASDAQ: LSI), on the precipice of being ushered into oblivion after eight-short years under the management of Wilf’s successor, Abhi Talwalkar.

There was a misguided celebration by some in the financial community in 2005 when Wilf at 67-years young turned over the reins to Abhi. This was the same Wilf Corrigan, who grew LSI Logic from zero revenues in 1981 to $1.8 billion when he finally hung up the cleats. No one was complaining when LSI Logic’s stock reached a post-split price of $90. Then there was the bursting of the Internet Bubble and the stock fell back to $3.

This is the same Wilf Corrigan that founded the custom semiconductor business, known as ASICs or Application Specific Integrated Circuits. Sony reached out to LSI Logic when it needed a critical processor for the first two generations of the PlayStation. This is the same LSI Logic that pioneered the concept of System on a Chip. The company eventually reached $2.7 billion in revenues before the Bubble Burst. Wilf Corrigan, CEO of LSI Logic

When I was joined the company in 1995, I was awed by the sophistication of the company’s innovation, its library of complex intellectual property cores, and its all-star lineup of future technology C-level executives: John Daane (Altera); Brian Halla (National Semiconductor); Moshe Gavrielov (Xilinx); Jen-Hsun Huang (NVIDIA); Ronnie Vashishta (eASIC) and Bruce Entin (Silicon Valley Communication Partners). Bruce was not only the best boss in my career, but is an even better friend.

Enter Abhi in 2005. He took it from there until last December 16 when Avago Technologies announced its $6.6 billion cash acquisition of LSI. If Winston Churchill was still around to assess Abhi’s eight-year stewardship, he would be tempted to state: “Never in recorded history has so many waited so long for so little.”

Looking back at my 10 years as the director of Corporate Public Relations for at LSI Logic (proper spelling), I was honored and humbled to have the opportunity to work closely with Wilf Corrigan until shortly after he stepped down. I am proud of my tenure, but saddened by what could have been and the upcoming silent burial of LSI Logic.

Let’s face it: Many were downright scared of Wilf. He had the reputation for being a tough, no-nonsense businessman, a calling card he earned from his 1970s chairmanship of Fairchild. For some reason, I was not intimidated, but always respectful. I found Wilf to be extremely well read and not just in the business of technology, but politics, history and geography. Particularly on road trips, we talked for literally hours on these subjects.

An irony of Wilf’s career was Gould’s hostile takeover attempt of Fairchild circa 1979. It didn’t take long for Wilf to realize that Fairchild was in play. In the end, Wilf and the Fairchild Board of Directors found a White Knight in Schlumberger. In turn, Schlumberger drove Fairchild into the ground. The Schlumberger acquisition of Fairchild provided Wilf with the opportunity to create his own company, LSI Logic or Large Scale Integration Logic. And now his creation is being put out of its agony by Avago. Did the company have to end this way?

When it was time for Wilf to step down, LSI Logic HR head Jon Gibson unearthed Abhi from Intel. This was the same Intel that created legends by the names of Andy Grove, Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce and Craig Barrett. Would Abhi do the same for LSI Logic? lsi

Abhi guided the rebranding of LSI (dropping “Logic” from the name) and adopting the “flower” logo. Later LSI acquired Agere Systems for $4 billion, the technology equivalent of Mexico absorbing Guatemala. LSI’s present revenues are $2.5 billion. Why Agere? And for what purpose?

Until the announcement of the Avago acquisition, LSI’s stock remained mired for years at $8 or less. Being charitable, one can easily conclude the company underperformed. And now it will be absorbed into Avago, a company that once was HP’s semiconductor business.

An oft-heard complaint about Wall Street revolves around executive compensation, especially those who walk away with millions even when they underachieve. Abhi ($2.09 million annual salary, not including options) will inevitably get a huge package in recognition of his starring role in driving the company into the abyss. Undoubtedly, he will live a very comfortable life. LSIlogo

And LSI Logic…it will always be LSI Logic to me…deserved a better fate, a much better fate.

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/12/16/avago-to-buy-lsi-for-6-6-billion/?_r=0

http://allthingsd.com/20131216/in-chip-deal-singapores-avago-to-acquire-lsi-for-6-6-billion/

http://www.zacks.com/stock/news/118176/is-the-lsi-acquisition-in-jeopardy

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/12/16/avago-lsi-acquisition/4038113/

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=LSI+Profile

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