Infineon Technologies' CEO resigns

May 26, 2008 6:20:04 PM PDT
Infineon Technologies AG said Monday that its chief executive, Wolfgang Ziebart, will resign at the end of the month over what it said was a difference in strategy for the money-losing semiconductor maker. In a brief statement issued after the German stock exchange closed for the day, the company said that Ziebart's resignation would be effective June 1.

The company named Peter Bauer, a member of the company's executive board who has been running its automotive chip business, to succeed Ziebart.

Infineon also said that its supervisory board, the U.S. equivalent to a board of directors, had declared "its vote of confidence for the chairman Max Dietrich Kley."

Ziebart was appointed CEO of the company on Sept. 1, 2004. Before coming to the company, he worked with Continental AG, rising to deputy chairman of its executive board. He also worked at BMW AG.

Infineon Technologies has been losing money in recent months amid a slowdown in spending in the market and because of wider losses at Qimonda AG, its memory chip unit.

Last month, the Neubiberg-based company reported that it lost nearly 1.4 billion euros ($2.21 billion) in the second quarter of its fiscal year, dragged down by a loss of 482 million euros ($759.7 million) at its memory chip unit Qimonda. It was the fifth consecutive quarterly loss.

Without Qimonda, in which Infineon holds a majority stake, Infineon said it would have posted a profit of 19 million euros ($29.9 million).

Despite the drag on net profit, the company's sales rose 7 percent to 1.05 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in the second quarter from 978 million euros a year earlier.

Over the weekend, German newspaper Die Welt reported that the Investment company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. was in advanced talks with Infineon that could see it become the German company's biggest stakeholder.

Infineon did not comment on the report which said that KKR could take a 40 percent to 50 percent stake in Infineon by issuing new shares and then combine it with Dutch chip maker NXP.

The paper, citing unidentified people familiar with the talks, said that Ziebart has opposed such a deal.

Shares of Infineon fell nearly 2.5 percent to close at 6.14 euros ($9.68) on Monday in Frankfurt.