Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Less than a week after activist investors placed new directors on Lattice Semiconductor's board, the Portland company said longtime chief executive Darin Billerbeck will retire.
Billerbeck, 58, had run the company since 2010, moving Lattice from its roots in Hillsboro to new headquarters in downtown Portland. The company makes programmable computer chips, used in everything from smartphones and digital cameras to communications equipment.
Lattice is Portland's biggest tech company but is relatively small by chip industry standards. It reported $386 million in revenue last year, down from $427 million the prior year. The company has lost money in each of the past three years, reporting a $71 million loss in 2017.
Lattice's fortunes improved modestly under Billerbeck, but the company largely missed out on the broad run-up in tech stocks since the Great Recession. Lattice's share price rose 32 percent during Billerbeck's tenure; during the same period, an index of 30 other chip stocks (not including Lattice) rose nearly 240 percent.
Lattice's shares fell 8 cents in early trading Tuesday to $6.40.
Global attention focused on Lattice in 2016 and 2017 as Chinese-backed investors bid $1.3 billion for the company. The deal became a test of the U.S government's appetite for Chinese investment in the tech sector and President Donald Trump ultimately blocked the transaction, citing national security concerns.
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