Garmin Names Pemble As CEO; Kao Becomes Executive Chairman

Garmin Names Pemble As CEO; Kao Becomes Executive Chairman

Garmin Ltd. (FRA:GEY) (NASDAQ:GRMN) announced this morning that its board has named Clifton Pemble as President and CEO of the company, succeeding co-founder Mi Kao who takes up the position of executive chairman of Garmin Ltd. (FRA:GEY) (NASDAQ:GRMN)’s board, effective January 1.

Pemble joined the Navigation device maker in 1989 as one of the company’s pioneer engineers and has been working with Garmin Ltd. (FRA:GEY) (NASDAQ:GRMN) in the capacity of a COO since October 2007.

The company said Dr. Kao will assume the role of executive chairman, where he will serve as the chairman of board of directors, while also providing the company with an ongoing support with his input in company’s strategic planning and business development.

“Cliff has been instrumental in establishing Garmin Ltd as a global leader in every market we serve. I firmly believe that he is equipped to lead us into the future with skills and knowledge that encompass the breadth and depth of the entire business. I am grateful to Cliff for his years of unselfish service and his willingness to accept this new role. I am also pleased with the depth of the executive management team which will be serving under Cliff’s leadership.” said company co-founder Dr. Kao.

Pemble states that Min and Gary Burrell were the brains behind GPS technology. He believes that Garmin Ltd. is now in a  strong position with a portfolio of patents.

Expressing his gratitude for Dr. Kao, Pemble says :

“We cannot adequately express our gratitude for Min’s enduring vision and leadership. As we enter a new era for our company, he will continue to play a vital role in the formulation of our business strategy. We are fortunate to have Min’s ongoing wisdom and experience as we move forward into the future.”

Analysts at Goldman Sachs note that  Mr. Kao, 64, co-founded Garmin in 1989 and has been virtually synonymous with the company. He has been Garmin’s CEO since 2002, and was Co-CEO from 2000-02. Even after selling over 5mn shares in recent months for tax planning purposes ahead of potential US capital gain tax law changes, he and his family continue to own close to 26% of the company.

Analysts at Wells Fargo state:

‘While this move was not expected by us it’s also not surprising. Kao has been involved in running Garmin since cofounding it in 1989 and is 64 years old. Pemble has been positioned for this transition for some time and has been a board member since 2004 and COO since 2007.’

About Garmin Ltd. 

Since its incorporation in 1989, Garmin Ltd. has rolled out more than 100 million products. The global leader in satellite navigation was recently added as a component to the S&P 500 index.


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