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CEO Interview: T.J. Rodgers of Cypress Semiconductor

Hunker Down T.J. RodgersFounder, President and CEO, Cypress Semiconductor I wonder whether this has just been a recession—or the beginning …

Hunker Down

T.J. Rodgers
Founder, President and CEO, Cypress Semiconductor

I wonder whether this has just been a recession—or the beginning of the future of a socialist state of America. We are hunkering down. After attrition, we are managing to hire into areas where we need to hire, slowly, while at the same time holding our head count precisely flat. Most companies are in the same mode right now.

When [President] Obama was elected, I was happy. I thought it reflected magnanimity and a lack of prejudice in the American people. But since that time, he’s been nothing but a disappointment to me. If you take the man’s rhetoric and actions and say, “What does that mean?,” it’s socialism pure and simple. That is a known loser in history. But if you just throw out the bums, it isn’t enough. We need [political leaders] who believe in free markets, that government should be smaller, and that people should keep their own money. Otherwise we’re going to keep banging along the bottom here.

Looking forward, I must believe that two years from now the rules aren’t going to get changed and we won’t have a politically uncertain environment, where the investments I make now become invalidated by the stroke of a pen of a lawyer in Washington. I must believe we’re going back to becoming a free-market society.

So for next year, we’ve backed down to our core businesses, and we’re going to stay that way until we feel it’s time to [make new investments] and do it safely. And after we go through this period of stagnation, [the U.S.] will have forever lost market share to our competitors because of bad management in Washington.

Cypress Semiconductor, a $798 million company based in San Jose, Calif., is an incubator, designer and manufacturer of chips.

About Dale Buss

Dale Buss
Dale Buss is a long-time contributor to Chief Executive, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and other top-flight business publications. He lives in Michigan.