Villach He was the first organic farmer in his village in Carinthia, says Andreas Urschitz. That was decades ago, the 50-year-old gave up his flock of sheep a long time ago. But he never forgot one thing: customers like to pay a higher price for a special offer.
As Infineon’s new Chief Sales Officer, Urschitz wants to repeat what he achieved as a part-time farmer at a young age: running a green business and earning more at the same time. “The stronger our earning power, the greater our economic freedoms,” emphasizes Urschitz.
For the shareholders of the chip manufacturer, the Austrian is a great personnel promise. As head of the Power & Sensor Systems division, the business economist has always achieved the highest company-wide margins in recent years.
Now he is also expected to increase margins in the group as a whole to a similar level in order to catch up with competitors such as NXP, Texas Instruments and STMicroelectronics. They have been more profitable than Infineon for years.
How is that supposed to work? Urschitz demonstrates it during a traditional Brettljause in a tavern high above the local Gailtal. It’s not enough just to put a piece of smoked ham and a loaf of cheese on the table, he talks. The guests would like to have a must, pickles, fresh bread and it should look nice on top of that.
Infineon hopes for higher average prices
The same is true at Infineon: “Of course, we will continue to sell individual chips in the future. But we offer them to customers as bite-sized as possible. For this they are ready to pay higher average prices.” The long-standing CEO Reinhard Ploss called the approach “from product to system”.
As the bar guests like to be assured during the snack that the meat comes from organic pigs and the milk from happy cows, Urschitz also wants to put Infineon in a more advantageous light from now on: “We will communicate even more strongly than before how our Group contributes to a more livable environment: we put decarbonization and digitization in the foreground.“
Urschitz, a family man, has been Chief Marketing Officer at Infineon since the beginning of June. Predecessor Helmut Gassel had said goodbye after he was inferior in the race to succeed Reinhard Ploss, the long-time chairman of the Board. Jochen Hanebeck, 54, prevailed and has been leading Europe’s largest chip manufacturer since April 1.
Like the new CEO, Sales Manager Urschitz has also spent his entire professional life at Infineon. Both signed their first employment contract in the mid-90s, when Infineon was still a part of Siemens.
Born in Dortmund, Hanebeck was initially drawn to the wider world, to the US location East Fishkill north of New York City. Urschitz, on the other hand, hired, almost within sight of the family farm, at the then Siemens factory in Villach. Both eventually made their careers at the headquarters in Munich as division heads after Siemens spun off its chip business in 1999 and listed it on the stock exchange under a new name.
Infineon sees itself as the designer of the future
A central point of Urschitz’s new marketing strategy: he wants to address buyers in a completely different way. “I am convinced that 90 percent of customer interaction will be virtual in the future,” says the manager. “That’s why we are currently in the process of completely redesigning our digital face.“
It is important for him to meet the demands of a new, young generation of buyers, such as university graduates with a strong environmental awareness: “For us, it is about showing, for example, the energy savings that can be achieved with individual of our products.“
The new head of Sales also wants to bring Infineon more into the conversation around the world: “We are just starting to establish event formats. It’s about being perceived as the designer of our future.“ In the autumn, company trade fairs in Singapore, Japan and Silicon Valley will also be on the agenda.
Own wood and pear brandy
When the contracts are signed in America and the negotiations are completed in China, Urschitz returns to his estate in Carinthia. The rustling of the fir trees puts the hectic chip business in a different perspective. Because as a forest owner and part of the local water, meadow and path cooperatives, he has to look beyond the day.
Urschitz did not completely withdraw from agriculture after all. Again and again he heats the boiler for his organic pear brandy – with self–cut wood.