CEO interview: Everke of AMS on four pillars of sensing

November 27, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
Alexander Everke, CEO of Austria's AMS AG, has said he intends to double the size of the company over the next three years by building on four pillars of sensing.

EE Times Europe caught up with Everke, who has been in post since March 1, 2016, at a busy Electronica and asked him whether much had changed since he had taken the top job at AMS.

"Yes a lot has changed. We have undergone a strategic review. We want to be the leading player in sensor solutions. And the key to the change is very active portfolio management we want to support product sectors where we are number one or can be number one," Everke said. "And this is based on four pillars of business; optical sensors, imaging sensors, audio sensors and environmental sensors. To complement this, we have our ASIC competencies to provide interfaces."

It is notable that Everke's predecessor as CEO, Kirk Laney, is now chief strategy officer for the company, providing for a smooth transition and evolution of strategy.

"It was clear that for a €600 million [annual revenue] company we are active in too many places. That is why we made the sale of the NFC/RFID business to STMicroelectronics (see ST buys NFC, RFID assets from AMS)," said Everke.

"We had already acquired NXP's environmental sensor business (AMS buys environmental sensor business from NXP); CMOSIS a specialty image sensor business to strengthen the high-end (AMS to spend $200 million on CMOSIS buy); Mazet for spectral sensing (see AMS acquires MAZeT for color, spectral sensing); Cambridge CMOS Sensors (see AMS buys Cambridge sensor startup) for gas sensing."

Everke said there was additional potential in the combination of these acquisitions. For example Cambridge CMOS Sensors has expertise in hot plate technology for CMOS gas sensors was a good complement to AppliedSensors GmbH, bought two years previously, which has expertise in long-term stable pastes to go on such hotplates (see AMS set to buy German gas sensor firm).

"And now we are spending up to $850 million to buy Heptagon, a company with expertise in advanced wafer-level packaging for optical. This gives the opportunity to include multiple sensor modalities in one package. The market is changing in optical sensing and standard packaging is no longer sophisticated enough. About 80 percent of all investment will go through those four pillars. Other sectors at AMS may be divested or may continue but not receive investment," said Everke.

Next: About the pillars