Cannon, Michael R. 1953–

views updated

Michael R. Cannon

Chief executive officer and president, Solectron Corporation

Nationality: American.

Born: 1953.

Education: Michigan State University, BS; Harvard Business School, Advanced Management Program.

Career: Boeing Company, 19741983, engineer, manager; Control Data Corporation/Imprimis Technology, 19831993, senior management in technology-components and disk-drive operations, then vice president of Far East operations; IBM, 19931996, vice president of worldwide operations, then vice president of mobile and desktop business unit, then vice president of product design; Maxtor Corporation, 19962003, CEO and president; Solectron Corporation, 2003, CEO and president.

Address: Solectron Corporation, 847 Gibraltar Drive, Milpitas, California 95035;

In January 2003 Michael Cannon was named president and chief executive officer of Solectron Corporation, the electronics-manufacturing and supply-chain services provider, bringing with him over 25 years of manufacturing and operations experience. As president and CEO of Maxtor Corporation he had turned around flagging revenues and built the company into an industry leader. Analysts and colleagues alike expressed confidence in Cannon's leadership abilities and strategic skills, with which he would enhance Solectron's market share and profitability.


After earning a degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University, Cannon was hired by Boeing Company, where he worked as an engineer and eventually as a manager in the manufacturing research and development group. After nine years with Boeing, Cannon began his career in the data-storage industry when he was hired by Control Data Corporation (CDC). Cannon spent the next 10 years with CDC and its spin-off Imprimis Technology in a number of senior management positions, gaining exposure to the technology-components and disk-drive operations areas. He also logged relevant experience in Asian manufacturing, spending four years in Singapore as vice president of Far East operations.

In 1993 Cannon joined IBM's Storage Systems Division and over the next three years held various senior management positions, including vice president of worldwide manufacturing, vice president of the Personal Storage Systems Division, and vice president of product design. His work again took him to the Far East, where he established manufacturing sites in Singapore, Thailand, and China, as well as in Hungary. Cannon left a positive mark on IBM's hard-drive business, returning the struggling unit to profitability.


Cannon was brought on as Maxtor's president and chief executive officer in July 1996. In VARbusiness he said of his decision to take the helm of the troubled company, which had been unprofitable for several years, "I was attracted to the turnaround situation and saw tremendous growth opportunity for the company" (January 19, 1998). Cannon planned to cut costs, introduce efficiencies in manufacturing operations, focus on higher-profit desktop drives, and more quickly bring products to the marketplace. He expected employees to consider themselves accountable for the company's performance. Mark Geenan, the president of the consulting company Trend Focus, said of Cannon in VARbusiness, "He pushes people to be on schedule, and everything in the company has sped up. Cannon peeled away businesses that didn't make sense and returned to core competencies" (January 19, 1998).

During Cannon's tenure Maxtor made dramatic improvements in spite of a general downturn in the industry. The company's revenues increased significantly, and its base of businesses became more diversified by virtue of internal growth and acquisitions. In 2001 Cannon arranged a merger between Maxtor and the disk-drive maker Quantum Corporation, creating the world's largest disk-drive company in a deal worth an estimated $2.3 billion.


In 2003 Cannon replaced Koichi Nishimura as Solectron's president and CEO. From the outset he faced challenging issues: a slump in the electronics manufacturing services industry in the early 2000s had had a serious impact on the company, which suffered several consecutive years of losses. Early on Cannon laid out his recovery plans, which included streamlining operations, cutting expenses, and exploring alternate revenue opportunities.

Financial analysts were generally pleased with Cannon's appointment, describing his candor about the company's financial and organizational problems as refreshing. John Mc-Manus, the analyst at Needham & Company, told EBN, "he recognizes what he has to do, which is the good news" (May 5, 2003). The IDC analyst Kevin Kane remarked in EBN, "Cannon has experience in manufacturing operations, specifically in a low-margin, highly competitive business that can't afford inefficiency" (January 13, 2003). Colleagues soon appreciated the assertive actions that Cannon took in order to meet his goals for the company as well as his open line of communication with Solectron clients and employees around the world.

William Hasler, Solectron's chairman of the board, had only positive things to say about Cannon to America's Intelligence Wire. Hasler referred to him as "an individual who truly knows technology and manufacturing. Mike has broad manufacturing and operations experience and has demonstrated a deep-rooted customer-service mindset. Mike has firsthand knowledge of both the challenges and opportunities that Solectron faces, and he is a seasoned and successful veteran of the hard-disk-drive business." Regarding Cannon's management style, Hasler said, "We are confident that Mike possesses the strategic skills and leadership abilities needed to accelerate Solectron's business and complete the company's return to industry-leading profitability and drive the business through a new phase of growth and development. He is a dynamic leader. Mike has the personal force to build on the great things Ko Nishimura has done for the company and make his own mark" (January 7, 2003).

In Cannon's first year with the company, Solectron was the recipient of numerous accolades, including Teradata's Supplier Excellence Award, Cisco System's Transformation and Integration Supplier of the Year, Brocade's Supplier of the Year Award for Customer Focus, and Sun Microsystem's Meritorious Supplier Performance Award for Electronics Manufacturing. Solectron closed its third quarter of fiscal 2004 with sales of $3.04 billion, up 29 percent from the prior year.

In addition to serving on Solectron's board of directors and remaining on the board at Maxtor, Cannon was a director for the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group and Adobe Systems.

See also entries on Maxtor Corporation and Solectron Corporation in International Directory of Company Histories.

sources for further information

Doyle, T. C., "Maxtor: Chapter Two," VARbusiness, July 22, 2002, p. 104.

"Michael Cannon Joins Solectron as President and CEO Conference Call," America's Intelligence Wire, January 7, 2003.

Ojo, Bolaji, "Solectron New CEO Promises Major Changes," EBN, January 13, 2003, p. 10.

Poole, Jackie, "Hard Drives under the Microscope," VARbusiness, January 19, 1998, pp. 9397.

Serant, Claire, "Solectron Taking Pains to Unite Business," EBN, May 5, 2003, p. 3.

Stephanie Dionne Sherk