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Freescale undergoes "identity" makeover

Posted: 28 Jun 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:embedded processing? sensor technology? analog?

5. New identity
People often talk about the "DNA" of a company, or "corporate culture." How could anyone alter that?

The Freescale we all thought we knew disappeared with its buyout by private equity firms. Of the 15 executive officers of the company today, a majority never worked at the storied Motorola. They come from companies like AMD, ST-Microelectronics and Intersil.

The two pre-buyout survivors are Alan Campbell, senior vice president/CFO; and Ken Hansen, senior fellow/vice president/CTO.

In sum, the senior leadership has little trace of Motorola's DNA, and thus enjoyed a free hand in defining the new Freescale.

Freescale's Richard openly acknowledges there were times when "too much finger- pointing" was going on internally. Freescale execs interviewed for this article also often talked about trying to instill "the desire to win" among some 20,000 employees. As Richard said, "We need to create a company where they can believe they can wineven if not 100 percent of the time."

Someone from a startup, for example, may find Freescale's emphasis on "the desire to win" a little odd. Who wouldn't want to win? But this emphasis helps explain the extent of the company's previous malaise.

"There are many good, talented people here," said Reza Kazerounian, senior vice president and general manager, microcontroller solutions group at Freescale. "They have been looking for a clear direction and proper decisions. Nobody likes to work for management who doesn't take risks or doesn't make decisions." He added, "After all, engineers want to work for Qualcomm, not for RCA."

Asked about where the management team needs to take Freescale over the next several years, Su said, "We want to become a solutions company. Today, we are still a product company."

Su explained that if you are working for a chip division in a larger systems company, "you grow this mentality that your job is to develop a product upon the parent company's request to 'please make this chip.'" She said, "I know this because I come from IBM."

By a solutions company, Su meant a company that can offer customers system-level "tradeoff choices" and give them "a full picture." For Freescale to play such an "advisory" role in the future though, "we need more systems thinkers and software engineers," she added.

- Junko Yoshida
??EE Times


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