CHAM, Switzerland -- Chip-assembly tool supplier ESEC Group today announced its board replaced the company's chief executive officer after a disagreement about strategies to turnaround the struggling company. ESEC named Jürgen Knorr--former head of the Siemens Semiconductor Group in the 1980s and 1990s--as its new CEO.
ESEC said low visibility continues to hamper its ability to forecast a recovery in capital spending for backend chip equipment. However, the Swiss-based company said it assumes the bottom of the slump has been reached, but it also expects weakness to continue "far into 2002."
Excluding charges and the impact of taxes, ESEC's operating loss for 2001 was 108 million Swiss francs ($65 million) on revenues of 189 million Swiss francs ($114 million). Revenues were down 64% in 2001 from a record high of 532 million Swiss francs ($320 million) in 2000.
ESEC said it took special charges of 64 million Swiss francs in 2001, primarily to cover restructuring costs and obsolete materials. In restructuring its businesses, ESEC said it has placed all of its operations into two divisions: Die Attach, and Wire Bonder.
The company also said "far-reaching measures" were introduced in effort to increase flexibility and to reduce its breakeven point.
Knorr immediately assumed the CEO position after Felix Bagdasarjanz resigned as chief executive, effective today. The company said the departure was a result of differing views between the board and Bagdasarjanz on management and implementation of ESEC's business strategy. Knorr has been a member of ESEC's board since 2000. Until 2001, he had been the chairman of Europe's Medea R&D program, which has been focused on increasing the competitiveness of the European semiconductor industry.