Infineon CEO steps down

Infineon Technologies' chief executive, Wolfgang Ziebart, will resign at the end of the month over what it said was a difference in strategy for the money-losing semiconductor maker.

A brief statement quoted by an Associated Press report also said Ziebart's resignation would be effective June 1.

The company named Peter Bauer, a member of the company's executive board who has been running its automotive chip business, to succeed Ziebart, the report said.

Infineon also said that its supervisory board, the US equivalent to a board of directors, had declared 'its vote of confidence for the chairman Max Dietrich Kley.'

Ziebart was appointed CEO of the company on September 1, 2004. Before coming to the company, he worked with Continental, rising to deputy chairman of its executive board. He also worked at BMW.

Infineon Technologies has been losing money in recent months amid a slowdown in spending in the market and because of wider losses at Qimonda, its memory chip unit, the report said.

Last month, the Neubiberg-based company reported that it lost nearly €1.4 billion (US$2.21 billion) in the second quarter of its fiscal year, dragged down by a loss of €482 million (US$759.7 million) at its memory chip unit Qimonda. It was the fifth consecutive quarterly loss.

Without Qimonda, in which Infineon holds a majority stake, Infineon said it would have posted a profit of €19 million (US$29.9 million).

Despite the drag on net profit, the company's sales rose 7% to €1.05 billion ($1.6 billion) in the second quarter from 978 million euros a year earlier.

Over the weekend, German newspaper Die Welt reported that the Investment company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. was in advanced talks with Infineon that could see it become the German company's biggest stakeholder.