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Secure Transactions News

Philippe Geyres appointed CEO of Oberthur Card Systems

Thursday 11 January 2007

Philippe Geyres graduated from Polytechnique in 1973. He started his career with IBM, and then joined Schlumberger in 1980, where he worked for the subsidiary Fairchild Semiconductors in the USA for two years. In 1983, he joined Thomson Semiconductors, (which became SGS-Thomson and then STMicroelectronics), where he managed business units and later group products. In 2004, he was appointed Executive Vice President Home Personal Communication Group, member of the executive committee, where he was responsible for telecommunications applications (infrastructure and equipment) and consumer electronics. He was directly responsible for 4,000 employees and a turnover of over EUR 2.5 billion.

On December 14th 2006, ST Microelectronics announced the resignation of Philippe Geyres, who was #3 in the top management ranking, with a direct responsibility on over 55% of the revenue. A few months before, he had been considered for the CEO position, until Carlo Bozotti was preferred to him. At the same time STMicroelectronics announced a reorganization of tits activities (cf. semi-conductors section below), leading to the split of the structure previously headed by Philippe Geyres.

Thanks to the more than 20 years he spent at ST, Philippe Geyres is considered as an expert in both the semi conductor and the telecoms fields. He joins Oberthur Card Systems at a critical time: the company announced its restructuring in the last quarter of 2006, based upon an industrial rationalization and a geographical expansion in Oberthur chosen markets. The company has been struggling with falling ASP (average selling price) in the SIM market, and has decided to focus on profitable businesses to the detriment of the global market share. Some analysts question whether Oberthur has reached the appropriate critical size as a SIM manufacturer. At the same time, Oberthur was threatened on its core business: banking, where sales were affected by the delays in the EMV migration. Even in the ID segment, where Oberthur has a positive image thanks to the combination of talents with its mother company, the company has not been able to establish a real leadership. Philippe Geyres faces a great but challenging task.