John F. Gifford
Electronics industry exec
Maxim Integrated Products and served as the Silicon Valley company's chief executive until his retirement in 2006, died of a heart attack at his vacation home in Hawaii on Jan. 11, his 68th birthday.
Gifford, a first baseman on the UCLA baseball team in the early 1960s, became a major donor to the university's athletic programs, sponsoring the construction of on- campus training facilities for the baseball and golf teams.
A native of Torrance, Gifford went to UCLA on a baseball scholarship and graduated with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1963.
Gifford's first job was with Fairchild Semiconductor, initially in sales and then in marketing, focusing on analog integrated circuits.
Known as a driven, competitive businessman, Gifford left Fairchild in 1969 to help found Advance Micro Devices.
Two years later, he moved on to Intersil, becoming president before resigning in 1983.
Next he founded Sunnyvale-based Maxim, which became one of the industry's largest makers of analog and mixed-signal chips.
Gifford was chairman and chief executive when he retired in 2006 in the wake of a federal investigation into back-dating of stock options. Without admitting guilt, he paid $800,000 in a settlement.
-- times staff and wire reports