As ams Osram boss weighs changes, he visits facilities on three continents

June 26, 2023
New CEO Aldo Kamper has traveled through Asia, Europe and the U.S. as he formulates plans for the corporate portfolio.

When we last checked on the whereabouts of new ams Osram CEO Aldo Kamper, we discovered that almost immediately after joining the company, he had jetted halfway around the world to Kulim, Malaysia.

The purpose of that trip was to ascertain progress at the factory where the Austrian LED, laser and sensor company is investing heavily in future production of micro LEDs, a product category on which it will be relying heavily a year or two from now.

While Kulim might have been the first stop on Kamper’s company itinerary, it was hardly the last. Through the breadcrumbs of LinkedIn, LEDs Magazine has spotted the new boss globetrotting to various ams Osram facilities in Asia, Europe, and the U.S.

Kamper, who returned to the ams Osram fold as chief executive on April 1, is trying to refamiliarize himself with some of the Osram facilities that he knew well up until 2018, when he departed as head of the Opto Semiconductors division of then Osram to run German automotive wiring, cabling and data management systems provider Leoni AG.

A lot has changed at Osram since then. Chiefly, Premstaetten-based ams purchased the group. So Kamper’s travels have also included stops at ams facilities that he would not have known when he was last at Osram.

With on-the-ground visits, Kamper is also trying to rally a company that is dealing with a string of quarterly financial downturns. In the process he might also gain insights on which operations to keep and which to shed.

After Kulim, his visits over the last two months have included: Singapore, where the company makes ams sensors; Regensburg, Germany, where it makes Osram optical chips and where it has a pilot line to use 8-inch wafers of the sort that Kulim will also use to make micro LEDs; Herbrechtingen, Germany, where it makes halogen and LED replacement headlamps; Munich and Garching in Germany, where the company has offices and, in Garching, a sensor lab; Antwerp, Belgium, and Eindhoven, The Netherlands, where the company has sensor facilities; and Plano, Texas, Cupertino, Calif, and Hillsboro, Ore., which feature consumer and Sylvania-related operations, among others.

With each stop, he posted praiseworthy accounts of the sites and people.

“It was great to be inducted to new technology, meet with customers, see old colleagues and meet new ones,” he posted six days ago in reporting on his U.S. trip. “I am impressed with the technology and the knowledge and drive of the teams.”

Likewise, after visiting Antwerp and Eindhoven, he noted last month: “I was impressed by our miniaturized image sensors such as Naneye and excited to see the first images of our latest Mira sensor. I also enjoyed the discussions with our sales and finance teams that play an important role for the further integration of our company. Thanks to both teams for the warm welcome and inspiring visit.”

Kamper hasn’t been on the road the whole time, just a good bit of it. He appears to be back on home turf now, where he will reflect on his travels and continue to educate himself on the state of the company as he weighs tough decisions.

In reporting a first-quarter decline in April, he told one analyst that he is indeed examining the possibility of paring back certain operations. Those would probably come from the ams side of the business, as the company has already jettisoned many former Osram groups.

“We have a very large portfolio of technologies and a large portfolio of opportunities associated with that, which is on the one hand a pleasure and a strength,” Kamper said during the first-quarter analysts’ call. “At the same time, it also requires you to make choices. And that’s what I want to have as an intense discussion with the management team…But the good part is we have almost too many choices, not too little choices. That’s a very pleasant problem to have in that sense. But still it requires stringency and consequence….

“It is really about making the right portfolio choices going forward, and then adjust spending towards that,” Kamper concluded.

 Ams Osram is scheduled to report its second-quarter 2023 results on July 28.

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

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About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.