Pioneering researcher to leave Motorola

May 30, 2003 — Herb Goronkin, an industrial researcher at Motorola Labs who spearheaded several corporate programs to miniaturize electronics, will leave his position as vice president and director on June 6 to begin a career as an independent science and technology adviser. He said he decided to leave Motorola after 25 years because cuts to the research and development labs in Tempe, Ariz., limited his ability to grow and be productive.


Goronkin’s work with compound semiconductor materials helped Motorola miniaturize its mobile phones and develop high-speed transistors. He was critical in the development of Motorola’s efforts to commercialize magnetic memory, or MRAM. Motorola plans to offer MRAM chips for sampling this year and begin production in 2004. A physicist, he received Motorola’s highest award for a technologist, a Dan Noble fellowship, in 1995 as well as its most distinguished innovator and master innovator awards in the 1990s.


Motorola has reduced its staff by more than 50,000 — or about a third of its 2000 work force — and cut its research and development expenditures by $500 million in 2002. Since it began cutbacks in 2001, it has shuttered its flat panel display program but kept a related carbon nanotube group, sold a biochip business and donated related biotech equipment to Arizona State University. After the corporation’s latest downsizing, Goronkin was left overseeing three labs and a nanotechnology program.


Goronkin said he is accepting a retirement package from Motorola but will not retire. Instead, he will use his technical and business expertise to counsel businesses and serve on company boards.


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