Jerry Fishman, Analog Devices CEO, Dead at 67: Some of His Insights

Analog Devices announced today that its CEO, Jerry Fishman, passed away from an apparent heart attack on Thursday evening. He was 67.

Fishman had been chief executive of Analog, an electronics firm specializing in data conversion and signal conditioning technology, since 1996. He joined the company in 1971 in product marketing and proceeded to climb the ladder.

Analog Devices founder and chairman Ray Stata issued a statement that reads, in part: “Jerry not only developed enormous respect both inside and outside the company as one of our industry’s greatest leaders, but also for those like me who knew him well, he engendered a sense of affection and loyalty through his candor, openness, and integrity and through his unique sense of humor. While Jerry was extraordinarily passionate about his work and ADI, his greatest pride was his family and our thoughts are with them at this time. We shall miss Jerry deeply.” He stated, “This is a terrible loss for me personally and for all of us here at ADI.”

Norwood, MA-based Analog (NASDAQ: ADI) has been around since 1965—a true icon of the Boston tech scene. It has had only two CEOs in its entire history: Stata and Fishman. The company will now be led by interim CEO (and ADI president) Vincent Roche.

Back in 2007, Xconomy founder Bob Buderi attended an entrepreneurship and technology summit in Vermont and conducted a one-on-one chat with Fishman. Some highlights that Bob relayed from chatting with him:

—Consistency of purpose, including cultivating leadership that really understands the company’s culture, has been key to ADI’s success, Fishman said.

—ADI had a “chapel,” a soundproof room built between the offices of Fishman and Stata. Over the years, the two vowed to hash out their disagreements in the chapel, and to emerge with a unified voice. If the top leadership of a company is not publicly in agreement, Fishman said, it invites divisiveness among employees.

—Fishman was bored by the whole Boston vs. California debate (aren’t we all). “The real question is U.S. versus Asia,” he said. “California in my opinion is yesterday’s battle.”

—And, on the topic of whether New England entrepreneurs sell out too soon and aren’t in it for the long haul, Fishman noted that Analog had turned down many buyout opportunities over the course of its ascent.

Let that be an enduring lesson for us all.

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