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Rudi De Winter wants limping X-Fab to get up to speed

April 06, 2011 | Christoph Hammerschmidt | 222901512
Rudi De Winter wants limping X-Fab to get up to speed Past February, Rudi De Winter has been appointed co-CEO for semiconductor foundry X-Fab. Since his appointment took place shortly after X-Fab had released nine-month figures in red ink, speculations circulated that the move was aiming at a major course correction or a generational handover in the company. De Winter knows X-Fab very well: During the past 14 years he was CEO of fabless automotive chipmaker Melexis SA, a major customer of X-Fab.
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EE Times Europe: Mr. De Winter, X-Fab recently has a dual leadership, with you being responsible for R&D, marketing and sales, and long-standing CEO Hans Juergen Straub for finance, HR and operations. This looks like in the long term you are intended to replace Mr. Straub. Does the move initiate a generational succession?

Rudi De Winter: No. Perhaps not many companies have two CEOs, but I've worked before at Melexis which also was running with two CEOs - and that worked very well. Actually, X-Fab has great plans to further grow the company.

For a pure-play foundry, economies of scale are very important. That means that there needs to be worked at several fields on one end to grow through acquisitions and strategic plans and on the other hand make sure that the ongoing business - with proprietary technologies and what we refer to at X-Fab as COT, Customer-owned tooling grows accordingly. Economies of scale demand that wafer fabs get bigger and bigger - that's why it makes a lot of sense to work in team and to split responsibilities.

EE Times Europe: With you being responsible now for R&D and sales, what will change at X-Fab?

De Winter: The strategy at X-Fab will not change. An important focus will remain on COT business, so we invest in innovative technologies to remain on the leading edge with respect to SoCs, integration with high voltage, sensors, embedded Flash etc in monolithic solutions. On the other hand we also offer proprietary processes - we prefer to say customer processes - for the high volume consumer customers to really have optimized processes for specific products.

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