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Herbert Diess to make comeback to corporate Germany as Infineon chair

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Chipmaker Infineon has picked Herbert Diess to chair its supervisory board, marking a swift return to a big German corporate role for the former head of Volkswagen.

Infineon said on Friday that two board members, including current chair Wolfgang Eder, would not seek re-election when shareholders next vote on February 16. That would make room for Diess and former Siemens executive Klaus Helmrich.

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

Infineon, whose largest customers are carmakers, has been one of the winners of the global shortage of semiconductors. Diess was ousted from VW in July after pressure from a labour union and shareholders over company strategy.

He became known for skirmishes with VW’s powerful works council and a strong enthusiasm for rival Tesla, which became a driver for his ambition to transform the world’s largest carmaker 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] increasingly plays a role as facilitator of the solutions for major, global tasks,” said Diess. “Accompanying Infineon on this journey is a tremendous motivation for me.” Diess previously served as a member of Infineon’s supervisory board between 2015 and 2020.

The German chipmaker last month raised its target for “long-term” average revenue growth from 9 per cent to 10 per cent, and announced that it was building a new plant in the eastern German town of Dresden to expand its 300-millimetre production capacities.

Chief executive Jochen Hanebeck is also new at the reins, having taken over from predecessor Reinhard Ploss earlier this year. He said Diess and Helmrich were “proven experts on the major topics that will determine the future of our business”.

Infineon’s share price, which has slumped 23 per cent in the past year, barely moved on the news on Friday.

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