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Melting flash-mem giant Spansion files for Chapter 11

Ex-CEO vows return of golden handshake

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The Handshake

Just weeks earlier, Cambou received $751,000 in severance after resigning, while inking a six-month consulting deal with the company. Cambou says that all but $403,000 of the severance went to taxes. And he hopes to return all of that $403,000.

Amidst the layoffs, the company's board of directors also voted to reverse earlier pay cuts for certain execs and other remaining employees. Three days later, two separate employment lawsuits were filed against the company, both of them claiming it had violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act - a twenty-year-old US law that requires employers to provide 60-days notice before making "mass layoffs."

Spansion did not notify employees until the day they were laid off, but it claims an exemption under the WARN Act. It has not, however, specified what that exemption is.

Paula Rao was among the roughly 200 former employees who gathered at a Silicon Valley pizzeria on Thursday afternoon to protest the company's action and discuss the eventual lawsuits. A former engineer in the company's now-shuttered Sunnyvale R&D plant, she says Cambou deserves nothing but praise.

"I think that Bertrand should be acknowledged for what he did," she told The Reg. "I don't know if he knew when he left the company layoffs were on the horizon. Even if he did, he may not have known the details of how they would be handled. The fact that once he became aware of the situation, he had enough compassion to do what he did - you don't encounter many people these days that would have returned that much money by their own choice.

"I guess he felt he just couldn't keep it knowing the rest of us got nothing. I believe his gesture was from his heart and not motivated by trying to change his perception in the press."

Following its bankruptcy filing, Spansion says it will focus on embedded, IP-solutions, and wireless markets, as these have the highest profit potential.

"With our valuable portfolio of industry leading products and technology, we believe Spansion has a promising future," Kispert said. "By focusing on embedded Flash memory products, IP solutions, and the profitable portions of the wireless segment, we believe Spansion can leverage its diverse product portfolio and customer relationships while we continue our restructuring process and explore opportunities for a strategic transaction." ®

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