Cirrus Logic Co-Founder Dead At 71

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Austin, Texas - Michael L. Hackworth, 71, chairman and co-founder of consumer electronics IC chip maker

Cirrus Logic

, died at his home in Saratoga. Calif., April 21, the company said.


In creating Cirrus Logic, Hackworth is credited with leading the way for the "fabless semiconductor" industry, and was quoted: "Real men really don't need fabs."

The company's audio processors and audio converters are found in many professional audio and consumer entertainment products, including portable media players, home-theater receivers, TVs and set-top box hardware.

In the past, Cirrus Logic had also designed and sold modem controllers, hard-disk controller chips, CD-drive controller chips, PC sound-card controllers and PC graphics chips.

Hackworth became chairman of the board of Cirrus Logic in July 1997. Between March 5 and May 16, 2007, Hackworth was the company's acting president and CEO. He continued to support Dr. Jason Rhode, current president and CEO, as an employee of the company until July 27, 2007, and acted as a consultant to the company until Sept. 30, 2007.

He previously served as president and CEO of Cirrus Logic from January 1985 to June 1998 and continued to serve as CEO until February 1999.

Prior to working at Cirrus Logic, Hackworth spent 31 years with Signetics, a subsidiary of N.V. Philips; Motorola Semiconductor; and Fairchild Semiconductor. 

Hackworth was also the co-founder of Tymphany, a provider of audio transducers for loudspeakers. He served as CEO between 2002 and May 2007, and as a director and chairman of the board from 2002 until October 2008. 

Hackworth co-founded Cirrus Logic in 1985. The company was one of the pioneers of the fabless business model and led its growth to over $1billion in annual revenue in the ten years from its founding. 

Hackworth was also noteworthy for his work within the community. His efforts focused largely on arts and learning; including serving as The University of Santa Clara and its Markkula Center for Applied Ethics advisory board chair, The Tech Museum of Innovation board member and former chair, and Montalvo Arts Center board member. 

During his tenure as CEO, he also led Cirrus Logic to sponsor such programs as the San Jose Children's Shelter, the Second Harvest Food Bank and Joint Venture Silicon Valley.

Hackworth resided in Saratoga with his wife, Joan.

A native of Silicon Valley (San Mateo), Hackworth held a degree in engineering from Santa Clara University, class of 1963.


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