Moore's Lobby Podcast

Ep. 26 | Microchip’s Steve Sanghi on How to Bring a Company from Debt to Billions

Episode #26 / 37:25 / June 08, 2021 by Dave Finch
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Episode Sponsor: CUI Inc.

The story of Steve Sanghi's career to date parallels the growth of Microchip Technology and the history of the semiconductor industry overall. Sometimes, the behind-the-scenes environment of technological advancement is anything but glamorous. Sometimes, it's about survival.

Microchip Technology is so recognizable in the semiconductor industry that it's hard to contemplate that it struggled rather a lot in its early years. From its split from General Instrument to its rocky beginnings as a company teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and on through its remarkable 121 consecutive profitable quarters, Microchip has fought for every inch of success it's achieved.

In the middle of it all has been Steve Sanghi, CEO from 1990 until 2021, when he took on the role of Executive Chair. Steve has been an active driver in the industry, taking a "different-by-design"—or even straight-up risky—perspective in his approach to technology and leadership.

In this episode of Moore's Lobby, Dave guides us through highlights of Steve's storied history of guiding Microchip into the modern era. Hear stories that paint a clear, oftentimes surprising portrait of the industry, including:

  • Sanghi's early years ("I came from India with only $150 in my pocket and a plane ticket, no place to stay, an admission to a college with no money to pay the tuition."
  • The decision to take on the role of CEO of Microchip Technology while it was heavily in debt ("I got numerous letters from friends from Intel, from WaferScale, from the industry saying, 'You took that job as the CEO at Microchip? We thought you were more intelligent than that. Nobody would take that job.")
  • Pioneering field-programmable PIC-based MCUs ("So I said, 'Sir, what is it that you cannot do today but would love to do if you only knew it could be done?'")

 

A Big Thank You to This Episode's Sponsor

 

Meet Steve Sanghi

Steve Sanghi is the Executive Chair of Microchip Technology. After earning his bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communication from Punjab University, Sanghi came to the USA to attend first the University of Utah and then the University of Massachusetts, where he received his master's degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His career included work at Intel Corporation and WaferScale Integration before taking on the challenge of becoming Microchip's CEO for over 30 years—the longest tenure in the industry.

Under Sanghi's leadership, Microchip Technology carved a space for itself in the semiconductor industry as providers of affordable, programmable, and small-form-factor microcontrollers. In recent years, he also led Microchip in the acquisition of key partners such as Atmel and Microsemi. Through a mixture of internal growth and acquisitions, Microchip has grown its portfolio of applications to cover huge swaths of electronics, including aerospace, 

 

 

Over the past 30 years, Sanghi has also cultivated a unique culture at Microchip that celebrated the employee and team, choosing to hire VPs from within his employ rather than looking externally since 2001.

In March of 2021, Sanghi exchanged the role of CEO for that of Executive Chair of Microchip. He continues to drive new ideas with his team, while also enjoying time with his family.