Schneider, Honeywell cope with leadership, organizational shifts
Accelerating competition fueled by technological advances and software's emergence are driving many tectonic shifts in the control and automation landscape. This unrelenting pressure has forced many recent mergers and acquisitions and is apparently speeding up a new round of leadership shifts, layoffs, and other sometimes wrenching changes.
Accelerating competition fueled by technological advances and software’s emergence are driving many tectonic shifts in the control and automation landscape. This unrelenting pressure has forced many recent mergers and acquisitions and is apparently speeding up a new round of leadership shifts, layoffs, and other sometimes wrenching changes.
One of the most significant changes was Schneider Electric’s (Paris) May 11 move to integrate its Automation Business (North Andover, Mass.) more closely with the parent company’s activities, such as industrial control and electrical distribution. Schneider says its aim is “to ensure a seamless product and service offering to its customers worldwide.”
Schneider’s self-described redeployment closely follows the recent replacement of Ray Sansouci by Alain Marbach as leader of Schneider’s Automation Business. Mr. Marbach, who formerly served as research and development vp of the Automation Business, is now its president and coo. He recently appointed Gordon Quigley as marketing and customer technical support vp and Pierre Marquois as operations and quality vp.
Mr. Sansouci’s departure was also followed by about 500 layoffs of employees in Germany, the U.S., and France. Schneider says this workforce reduction results from increasing the specialization of three plants in these countries.
Besides these personnel changes, the division’s name was also recently changed from Schneider Automation to Schneider Electric’s Automation Business or the Automation Business of Schneider Electric.
Mr. Marbach explains the Automation Business is a core component of Schneider Electric’s business, even though it provides just 7% of total revenues. “Our strategy has not changed–the Automation Business of Schneider Electric must continue to be more customer focused, aligned, innovative, and fast,” says Mr. Marbach. “This organization will help us achieve these goals. Our customers must see us as a seamless organization, delivering integrated solutions to meet their needs–whether those needs include electrical distribution, industrial control, or automation products and services.”
An initial example of Schneider’s integrated strategy was shown at the recent IAM ’99 show in Detroit. The company demonstrated coordinated motion control integrating new Lexium analog and digital servo amplifiers with both Premium and Quantum PLCs.
Honeywell loses ceo
A second dramatic shift was the May 6 announcement that Markos Tambakeras resigned as president of Honeywell’s (Minneapolis, Minn.) Industrial Control business. Mr. Tambakeras will become president and ceo of Kennametal Inc. (Latrobe, Pa.), a metalworking tool company.
In the interim, the Industrial Control business will be led by Donald Schwanz, president of Honeywell’s Space and Aviation Control business, according to Michael Bonsignore, Honeywell’s chairman and ceo. Michael Smith, president of Honeywell’s Commercial Aviation Systems business, will become acting president of the Space and Aviation Control business.
“Industrial Control is an outstanding business with a fine management team, strong market position, and excellent prospects for the future,” says Mr. Bonsignore. ‘While we regret Markos’ decision, we are fortunate to have the management depth to ensure continuity and success.”
Other significant shifts
Other recent changes in control and automation and related fields have included:
Paul Wahl, former ceo of SAP America Inc. , and Jeremy Coote, SAP America’s former president, were respectively appointed president and coo and North American operations vp of Siebel Systems Inc. (San Mateo, Calif.). Siebel also secured two other executives from IBM and one from Oracle Solutions.
Ronald Hoge resigned May 4 as president and ceo of MagneTek Inc. (Nashville, Tenn.) to pursue other interests. Andrew Galef, MagneTek’s chairman, assumed Mr. Hoge’s duties as ceo until a new president is named.
As part of its product and market expansion, Pavilion Technologies (Austin, Tex.) picked Peter Perialas Jr. as its new ceo on May 4. Mr. Perialas was previously general manager of Computer Sciences Corp.’s Universal Commerce Management Group. He follows Pavilion’s former ceo, Ron Riedesel, who will continue to serve as chairman.
Bodenseewerk Perkin-Elmer GmbH, a subsidiary of Perkin-Elmer Corp. (Dberglingen, Germany), sold its Environmental and Process Analytical Division (UPA) on May 1 to Sick AG (Waldkirch, Germany). The division will be renamed Sick UPA GmbH.