Give Renesas Electronics Corp. executives credit. They have their story and they're sticking to it.
At Renesas' Devcon developers' conference in Southern California this week, nearly identical messages were delivered over and over from a range of representatives, from company management to the VPs running the business units to the people giving demos on the show floor. The loudest of these messages, of course, was praise for the merger of NEC Electronics and Renesas Technology that formed the company in April.
You can bet Renesas held a powwow or two in the lead up to its important semi-annual event to get people on the same page and distribute talking points about "a merger of equals" and "synergies." But beyond the corporate speak, interviews point to a genuine enthusiasm for the merger and the new company's prospects that runs through the entire organization.
Perhaps the most surprising part of this harmony is the insistence that, despite the size and market position of the two companies pre-merger, there was actually not that much overlap in product offerings or customers.
According to Jim Trent, vice president of the automotive business unit of Renesas Electronics America, the company's U.S. subsidiary, it was until the deal was signed and sealed that executives were able to come together and realize that there were significantly fewer areas of direct competition between the two firms than just about anyone thought. Trent, who was with NEC prior to the merger, said he realized that the two were not competing directly for many design wins in the automotive space, but that he assumed there must have been much more head-to-head competition in other end markets.
As it turned out, not so much, according to Trent and other executives.
Not that it was all fun and games. In July, Renesas slashed 5,000 jobs from the merged entity and announced it would no longer invest in new fabs but rely on foundries for devices at 28-nm and below. Executives admit that the cuts, part of Renesas President Yasushi Akao's "100-day plan" to define corporate strategy for the firm and eliminate redundancies, were difficult but necessary.
"My instructions were very simple: Avoid duplicated development as much as possible," Akao said in an interview earlier this week.