January 27, 2023

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Herbert Diess returns to Germany as Chairman of Infineon

Chipmaker Infineon has appointed Herbert Diess to chair its supervisory board, marking a quick return to a major German corporate role for the former Volkswagen boss.

Infineon said on Friday that two board members, including current CEO Wolfgang Eder, will not be re-elected in the next shareholders’ vote on February 16. That would create space for Diess and former Siemens board member Klaus Helmrich.

“Now is the right time for change,” said Eder.

Infineon, whose largest customers are automakers, is among the winners of the global semiconductor shortage. This had been pushed out of VW in July under pressure from a trade union and shareholders because of the corporate strategy.

He is best known for skirmishes with VW’s powerful works council and a strong enthusiasm for competitor Tesla, which fueled his ambition to transform the world’s largest automaker into an electric pioneer. The announcement of his new job comes as his successor, Oliver Blume, hosts his first annual meeting with VW investors in Berlin.

“[Infineon] is increasingly playing a role as a mediator in solving large, global tasks,” said Diess. “For me, accompanying Infineon on this path is an enormous motivation.”

The German chipmaker last month raised its target for “long-term” average sales growth to 10 percent from 9 percent and announced it would build a new plant in the eastern German city of Dresden to expand its 300-millimeter manufacturing capabilities.

Also new at the helm is CEO Jochen Hanebeck, who took over from his predecessor Reinhard Ploss at the beginning of the year. He said Diess and Helmrich are “recognized experts on the major issues that will determine the future of our business.”

The price of the Infineon share, which had collapsed by 23 percent last year, hardly moved in the news on Friday.