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New Renesas chief shares renaissance roadmap

Posted: 24 May 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Renesas roadmap? MCU? microcontroller? Japan IC industry?

Akao: We will have time lines and action plans covering big picture matters and more detailed matters including how to bring down the cost.

Renesas Electronics Corp., founded in April from Renesas Technology and NEC Electronics merger, is spending its first hundred days kicking butt and taking names.

Yasushi Akao, president of Renesas Electronics, in an exclusive interview with EE Times, said the new company's priority is to make hard choices, lay out clear timelines and action plans and do all this in barely three months.

If Akao delivers, he would be breaking an unfortunate pattern for Japan semiconductor companies in recent years. The global electronics industry has yet to see evidence that the consolidation of Japanese chip makers like Elpida Memory (Hitachi and NEC) or Renesas (Hitachi and Mitsubishi) can succeed.

Critics point out that the merged companies have struggled. They blame the dithering on a lack of clear goals, indecisiveness and slow execution of combined business plans, product roadmaps and operational processes.

"That won't be happening again," vowed Akao.

Renesas was born through the merger of Renesas Technology (the world's eighth largest semiconductor supplier in 2009, according to Gartner) and NEC Electronics (No. 11). Renesas is expected to become the world's third largest semiconductor supplier based on combined revenue.

By early July, said Akao, "We will have time lines and action plans covering big picture matters such as roadmaps, product lineups and production lines, and more detailed matters including how to bring down the cost." Thus far, these goals have been pursued separately by two diverging semiconductor operations, said Akao.

Taking methodical style
Akao, 55, who possesses a solid engineering background, developed Hitachi's SH microprocessors. He joined Renesas Technology in 2003, as deputy general manager of its SoC division.

Akao has no illusions about the missteps that marked the original merger of Hitachi and Mitsubishi. His job was to oversee business strategy at Renesas Technology's strategy planning division between October 2003 and November 2004.

The challenge now for Akao is to do it better and faster. That might be easier said than done. For example, it took Renesas Technology until 2008 to whittle down seven different CPU cores from Hitachi and Mitsubishi to three.

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