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October 18th, 2005
Thomas Gutshall believes in the wisdom of giving a position an expiration date.
Nine years ago he did just that, as he sat in a Silicon Valley restaurant and sketched out plans for a new business on the back of a napkin. The company, Cepheid, was going to make MEMS-related equipment for DNA analysis. The man sitting next to Gutshall, Kurt Petersen, provided the technology know-how and would serve as chief operating officer. Gutshall would be Cepheid's founding chief executive officer, with one important catch. He wanted to be out by 2001.
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