Reinhard Ploss must wait several months to formally assume the title of CEO at German semiconductor vendor Infineon Technologies AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: IFX) but the incoming boss is already racing to put his stamp on the company, starting with key appointments in operations, supply chain, and purchasing, and at one of its key business divisions.
The company, in a statement today, announced the appointment of Peter Schiefer as operations boss with responsibility for manufacturing, supply chain, and purchasing activities and said Andreas Urschitz will assume the new job of head of its power management and multimarket business. Urschitz will continue to lead Infineon's worldwide sales, marketing, and distribution operation, the company said.
Ploss, who is scheduled to take over as CEO from Peter Bauer on October 1, is quietly instituting other changes at Infineon. The company's management board, for instance, will shrink to three from four members and won't in future focus on daily operational issues, which have now been consolidated under Schiefer to "do justice to the major significance of operations at Infineon," the company says. Until his appointment as CEO, Ploss, who is currently a member of Infineon's management board, was in charge of operations, R&D, and labor.
The decision to reduce the number of people on Infineon's management board as well as the appointment of Schiefer to the operations duty may be related to efforts by the company to improve operating performance, reduce costs, and boost revenue growth. Quarterly sales have slipped in the last several months, falling slightly in the fiscal second quarter ended March 31 to €986 million ($1.22 billion) from €994 million in the comparable 2011 quarter. On a sequential basis, sales did improve from €946 million in the three months ended Dec. 31, 2011.
The company is not out of the woods. It is predicting "broadly flat" revenue and margin for the ongoing quarter, and the outlook for the fiscal year is for a "low single-digit percentage decline in revenue," according to a statement issued at the beginning of May. The fiscal third-quarter and annual forecast was based on the assumption that the "Euro/US Dollar exchange rate will be largely unchanged compared to the first half of the year." That hasn't been the case. The current fiscal problem in several European nations has resulted in a weakening of the euro versus the dollar, which may boost dollar-denominated sales outside the euro currency zone.