MG100 Spotlight: Sonny Cave, General Counsel, ON Semiconductor

Lena Eisenstein

Sonny Cave, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at ON Semiconductor, is being recognized by Diligent’s Modern Governance 100 program. The Modern Governance 100 is a community of governance professionals who have been nominated for their innovation, resilience, dedication and empathy in the face of a complex and ever-changing world.

As founding general counsel for ON Semiconductor, Sonny Cave has blazed a trail in assembling a world-class modern governance and compliance function for one of the leading suppliers of semiconductor-based solutions globally.

Cave joined Motorola in 1992 and was elevated to general counsel in 1999 when ON Semiconductor was spun off from the larger company. It was a big step up that came with a steep learning curve, but Cave rose to the challenge. Since that time, he has grown the law department to more than 60 people while the company itself has grown to become one of the top 20 semiconductor suppliers in the world and a Fortune 500 company.

Through economic downturns and massive management changes, Sonny has weathered many twists and turns during his career. This year presented a new challenge, however. As executive vice president, chief compliance officer, chief risk officer and board secretary, Sonny was faced with managing worldwide legal affairs and corporate governance, risk and compliance virtually during a global pandemic.

Like most businesses, the COVID-19 crisis resulted in a seismic shift in the way ON Semiconductor operated. Along with the challenge of adapting to a wide variety of state and country-specific orders, the company was forced to close facilities and furlough workers — the effects of which spiraled downstream to production, orders and sales, resulting in tough decisions.

Amidst the chaos, Sonny relied on Diligent’s modern governance solutions to enable virtual collaboration among the company’s board members. Prior to the pandemic, ON Semiconductor had never held a virtual board meeting, but because the directors were already comfortable with Diligent’s modern governance solutions, Sonny could focus his time on meeting flow and ensuring critical decision were made.

“We’ve used Diligent for a long time, so our board members were comfortable receiving documents and collaborating through the secure board portal,” said Sonny. “With a seamless backdrop, I could focus my time on meeting logistics and other details so we could make the most of our virtual time together.”

How Cave uses Diligent

  • Virtual meeting management and secure dissemination of meeting materials and video conference links
  • Executive collaboration through a central repository for agendas, committee groups, annotations, board decks, documents, discussions, evaluations, questionnaires and meeting minutes
  • Real-time communication with fellow directors and executives while collaborating around the next board meeting

With board members located in France, Japan, and a variety of U.S. states, Sonny assumes board meetings will remain virtual for the near future. Looking ahead, his goal is to further strengthen the law department in preparation for the company’s strategic goal of breaking into the top 10 companies in the Fortune 500.

“Diligent’s modern governance solutions offer our directors an opportunity to collaborate in a secure environment outside of the board room,” he said. “When faced with a global pandemic, this ability proved crucial in making business-sustaining decisions.”

About the Nominee

Sonny Cave is a seasoned high-tech executive with twenty-five years of global experience at Motorola Inc. and ON Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: ON). He is the founding general counsel and board secretary at ON, a top 20 global semiconductor supplier headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona.

About ON Semiconductor

ON Semiconductor (Nasdaq: ON) is driving energy efficient innovations, empowering customers to reduce global energy use. The company is a leading supplier of semiconductor-based solutions, offering a comprehensive portfolio of energy efficient power management, analog, sensors, logic, timing, connectivity, discrete, SoC and custom devices. The company’s products help engineers solve their unique design challenges in automotive, communications, computing, consumer, industrial, medical, aerospace and defense applications. ON Semiconductor operates a responsive, reliable, world-class supply chain and quality program, a robust compliance and ethics program, and a network of manufacturing facilities, sales offices and design centers in key markets throughout North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific regions.

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Lena Eisenstein
Lena Eisenstein is a former Manager at Diligent. Her expertise in mission-driven organizations, including nonprofits, school boards and local governments, centers on how technology and modern governance best practices empower leaders at these organizations to serve their communities with efficiency and purpose.