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Note to Readers: The tech landscape is shifting rapidly, and no fewer than 10 top tech companies have recently installed new CEOs who were brought in to improve their companies' operations, cash flow, and profits. Here's how to invest in all 10 with one solid foundational play to hold for the long haul…
When longtime Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison stepped down Sept. 18, it took not one but two new chief executives to replace him.
The media treated it as if a pope were retiring – or maybe Derek Jeter.
But really, besides the double-headed CEO thing, this was hardly news.
More than half a dozen disruptive tech trends are hitting Silicon Valley all at once, and, well, the industry's veterans aren't getting any younger. And so, a quiet revolution is sweeping the top ranks of tech's biggest and most powerful companies.
Here's proof: In the past three years, 10 top global tech companies have announced new CEOs.
And today I'm going to show you how to invest in the 11 members (remember: Oracle takes up two slots) of this New Guard all at once for a price well below what many of these stocks cost.
This one investment has already thrashed the overall market by 46.5% so far this year.
Now let me tell you all about it…
The Changing of the Tech CEO Guard
In my 30-plus years knocking around Silicon Valley, I can't remember a similar stretch of time with so many CEO changes.
Despite the huge pace of change in technology, Silicon Valley has long been home to a number of senior leaders who stayed at the top for many years.
Just look at Ellison, now 70. Since cofounding Oracle's predecessor, Software Development Laboratories, in 1977, he had served as the company's only CEO. That's a nearly 37-year tenure, one that Bloomberg lists as the longest in the current tech industry.
At Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), there were only two CEOs for most of the company's history – founder Bill Gates for 25 years followed by Steve Ballmer for 14 more.
Robert Kotick has held the CEO spot at Activision Blizzard Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) for roughly 23 years, and Steve Sanghi at Microchip Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: MCHP) is just a few months behind him. Next January, John T. Chambers will celebrate his 20th year as CEO of networking giant Cisco Corp. (Nasdaq: CSCO).
Jeff Bezos at Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Steve Singh of Concur Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: CNQR), and Scott Scherr at Ultimate Software Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ULTI) are all tied at 18 years. And Reed Hastings of Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) is right behind them with a 16-year stint.
Thus, until recently, Silicon Valley has placed a high priority on having stable leadership. That's because it's nearly impossible to find executives who have all the unique skills required to run far-flung global tech enterprises.
So a top tech company's board often must extend the CEO a long-term contract that includes a hefty amount of stock options. So, both the board and the chief executive have every incentive to lock each other up for many years.
But that dynamic is changing as the tech landscape shifts rapidly.
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.