Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) announced that its senior vice president and head of its wireless terminals unit, plans to retire just days ahead the release of the company’s latest quarterly earnings report.

Gilles Delfassy, who has been with the semi-conductor company for 28 years will retire, effective immediately, the company said on Friday. Delfassy, 51, has been at the helm of the company’s successful wireless terminals unit since its inception in 1995, growing it into a multibillion dollar operation.

Gilles built an outstanding operation, one that not only transformed TI, but changed the way the world communicates. He leaves a legacy of innovation and growth, said Rich Templeton, TI’s president and CEO.

Greg Delagi who oversaw development of digital signal processors, and the DaVinci platform - a blueprint for building video hardware - will take Gilles’ place.

With the help of Gilles, TI technology has become the backbone of many cell-phone devices. However some observers say that in the wake of a mobile phone downturn, that relationship may hurt the company’s bottom line.

Suji Da Silva, research analyst with Cathay Financial, believes slower mobile sales will directly affect TI with reduced orders for the quarter, and increased risk of accruing inventory.

From our checks with handset chain companies, Da Silva said, we expect seasonal softness for handset demand in 1H07, particularly in high-end handsets where TXN has relative strength.

The analyst predicts revenue of $3.42 billion for TI's fourth quarter, down 9.1 percent versus the previous quarter.

Shares of TX closed up slightly on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, increasing .25 percent, or $0.07 to $28.39.