Novellus CEO Tells His ...


sheri baerSheri Baer, the Agency’s broadcast practice leader, regularly contributes to this forum, last taking readers behind the curtain of Bloomberg TV.

In her latest take, she makes the point that leaders lead regardless of the market conditions.

This is the wrong time of year to own tech … And if you didn’t believe me before, just take a look at Novellus Systems, Inc. … the semiconductor equipment manufacturer that got run over by a truck today.


That’s hardly the introduction you’d want to hear if you’re a CEO about to appear on “Mad Money” with Jim Cramer. But despite announcing a pullback and disappointing guidance, Novellus (NASDAQ: NVLS) CEO Rick Hill still accepted Cramer’s invite to appear on the July 12 show following the company’s Q2-FY11 earnings call.

As a CEO, Hill is as transparent as they come. He’s a “call it like I see it” kind of guy. And back on July 12, he told Cramer in a “Mad Money” interview he didn’t like what he was seeing:

What I’ve seen is an increasing feeling of economic doom on the part of corporate leaders almost anywhere I’ve been visiting. I think that’s giving many corporate leaders pause that they don’t want to be the last one to be holding all the inventory.

Hard to believe, but Hill’s forthright take on the market even surprised Cramer a bit, provoking a lengthy exchange which you can see below.

The segment ran over eight minutes with Cramer playing back excerpts on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” the following morning, triggering another four minutes of discussion with his fellow hosts. After acknowledging that Hill’s “track record with us is great,” Cramer also commented: “Rick was too downbeat.”

Fast forward a few weeks –

Hill’s prescient comments certainly show his track record to be intact, reinforcing his business smarts and keen market insight with both Cramer and CNBC viewers. It should be noted that there was some internal questioning as to whether Hill should go on the air, given the volatile market conditions. The comment back was, “Trading rooms and institutional buysiders have their screens tuned to CNBC and Bloomberg all day. They’re bombarded with investment ideas 24/7, so airtime and exposure are good for us.” The takeaway: As a proven thought leader, Hill garners even more respect for putting it out there – in good times and bad.

Back on August 12, Hill also commented:

There’s always going to be some demand. This is a temporary pause. It’s not a permanent pause.

No doubt everyone from Wall Street to Main Street are hoping those words from a proven thought leader will also be on track.

Leave a Reply