4/24/2003 - Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) announced that electronics industry veteran and Xilinx co-founder Bernard V. "Bernie" Vonderschmitt, 79, will retire as chairman of the board, as of August 7, 2003 when the Xilinx annual shareholders meeting takes place. Xilinx President and Chief Executive Officer Willem P. "Wim" Roelandts, 58, will succeed Vonderschmitt as chairman of the board and retain his day-to-day responsibilities at the helm of Xilinx. The company also announced that Jerry Fishman, President and CEO of Analog Devices, Inc. and a member of the Xilinx board since 2000, will take on the new role of lead independent director.
Vonderschmitt co-founded Xilinx in 1984 and served as chief executive officer until 1996, when 29-year veteran of Hewlett-Packard Co. Roelandts assumed the post. Vonderschmitt was instrumental in guiding Xilinx from a Silicon Valley startup to a billion-dollar-plus global enterprise that is recognized as the undisputed leader in programmable logic solutions, and employs more than 2,500 employees in North America, Asia and Europe.
"Bernie's vision for our business and company culture at Xilinx is as alive today as when he co-founded the company nearly 20 years ago," said Roelandts. "We'll miss his incredible business acumen, his superb knowledge of the industry and his visionary approach to creating and perpetuating a company built upon a core set of values that Bernie himself has lived and reflected every day of his life. Together with his co-founders, Bernie started Xilinx based upon a radical new technology and business model that has stood the test of time. It's my privilege to assume the role as chairman of the board for Xilinx and to honor Bernie's legacy and vision for the future."
During his tenure at Xilinx, Vonderschmitt pioneered the company's "fabless" business strategy of forming close partnerships with semiconductor manufacturers, freeing Xilinx from costly capital investments in foundries and allowing the company to focus its resources on research, design and marketing. Today, there are 75 public fabless semiconductor companies worldwide. Notably, Vonderschmitt's founding philosophy in action has also led to the company's high ranking in FORTUNE Magazine's "The Best 100 Company's to Work For" annual listing for three years in a row. This year, Xilinx placed No. 4, higher than any other publicly traded or high technology company and was lauded widely for its policy of "lay-offs as a last resort."
"It's been a great honor over the years to work alongside so many talented employees to create a company that responds to our employees, customers and shareholders, plus making all constituents feel they have provided and received value. Also, Xilinx has been a good citizen in all areas in which we conducted business," said Vonderschmitt. "As I venture into this new phase of my life, I have high confidence that Wim Roelandts is the right person to lead Xilinx into the future. Over the past seven years, he has proved to be an excellent leader in building the company, while holding true to a foundation of solid, lasting values that continue to serve us well, especially in today's demanding economic climate."
In December 2002, Xilinx was named "Most Respected Public Fabless Company" by members of the Fabless Semiconductor Association (FSA) at the annual FSA 2002 Awards Dinner Celebration. In addition, Vonderschmitt was honored with the Dr. Morris Chang Exemplary Leadership Award, an award that recognizes individuals, such as its namesake, for their outstanding achievements and unique contributions to the fabless sector, exemplifying how their vision and global leadership has transformed and elevated the entire semiconductor industry.
Before joining Xilinx, Vonderschmitt was vice president and general manager of the microprocessor division of Zilog, Inc. in San Jose. Before that, he served with RCA Corp. for 34 years. His employment at RCA was interrupted during WWII by service in the U.S. Navy for two-and-a-half years as an electronics officer, before returning to RCA to participate in color TV development and finishing his career as vice president and general manager of the solid state division. Vonderschmitt holds 13 issued patents. During his career at RCA, he received the prestigious "David Sarnoff Award" for developments in color TV integrated circuits.
Vonderschmitt was born October 14, 1923, in Indiana. He holds a BSEE and honorary doctorate degree of Science and Technology from Rose Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN, where he was also awarded the Hemingway Medal for top scholastic record. Vonderschmitt holds an MSEE from the Moore School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and was a recipient of D. Robert Yarnall Award in 2002. He also holds a MBA and honorary doctorate of laws from Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J. Vonderschmitt serves on the board of directors for Sanmina-SCI Corp. and Gyration.
Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) is the worldwide leader of programmable logic and programmable system solutions. Additional information about Xilinx is available at www.xilinx.com.
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