March 25, 2004 – Germany’s Infineon Technologies AG said that CEO Ulrich Schumacher has resigned effective immediately, replaced on an interim basis by chairman Max Dietrich Kley.
The Associated Press, referring to a statement from the company’s workers union, said Schumacher had “lost a boardroom battle over leadership style and strategy,” including his support of outsourcing and his criticism of Germany’s business climate.
Schumacher led Infineon’s spin-off from Siemens AG in 1999, and had managed the no. 3 memory chipmaker through the downturn, posting a small profit in its most recent quarter ending December 2003 after nine consecutive losing periods.
The sudden departure is unusual, given the region’s and industry’s typical behavior of planning top-management changes well ahead of time — STMicroelectronics, for instance, already has named the successor to CEO Pasquale Pistorio, who will step down in 2005.
Ironically, Schumacher reportedly said in a recent interview that he “could imagine working here another 20 years without any problem,” according to the AP.