Chip plant changes name, CEO

Published: Saturday, Apr. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6B
Last Modified: Sunday, Apr. 14, 2013 - 9:37 am

Roseville's computer-chip plant, after surviving a crippling financial scandal, has a new name and a new chief executive with a Silicon Valley pedigree.

The company formerly known as Telefunken Semiconductors announced it has been renamed TSI Semiconductors LLC.

Its new CEO is Sagar Pushpala, formerly an operating partner at one of Silicon Valley's top venture capital firms, Khosla Ventures.

The company said Pushpala has spent 25 years in the chip industry, with stops at companies such as Advanced Micro Devices and National Semiconductor. "Sagar has an impressive background, with deep experience and an intellectual curiosity about what businesses need to do to succeed," TSI Chairman Michael Gontar said in a prepared statement.

The TSI plant, once owned by NEC Electronics, has been a mainstay of the Sacramento area tech industry since the 1980s. But a year ago it was in crisis mode.

The company sued its two former top executives, Subbarao Pinamaneni and Raj Johal, accusing them of illegally siphoning $23 million from the Roseville business to prop up a chip plant they ran in Germany.

The alleged fraud brought the company "to the brink of insolvency," according to the lawsuits. Some 85 workers were laid off last fall, about 15 percent of the workforce.

The lawsuits were settled, and last November the company said it had begun rebounding. The plant makes chips for a variety of customers, namely the auto industry, which has done well in the past two years.

Pushpala announced that he had appointed three men to his executive team: Roger Lee, chief operating officer; David Bridgeford, chief financial officer; and John Doricko, vice president of sales and marketing.

Call The Bee's Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.

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