Reinhard Ploss

Chipping in Quietly

Reinhard Ploss, Vorstandsvorsitzender von Infineon, zeigt am 26.11.2015 in der Zentrale des Halbleiterherstellers Infineon in Neubiberg bei München (Bayern) mit einem Finger auf das Logo von Infineon. Das Unternehmen gibt an diesem Tag seine Jahreszahlen bekannt. Foto: Matthias Balk/dpa +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
Pull my finger! Source: DPA

Success also has its drawbacks, as Reinhard Ploss, 61, is experiencing first-hand. The chief executive of Infineon, a computer chipmaker, used to enjoy a magnificent view of the Alps from his desk. But a new office wing, a few months old, is blocking the towering peaks from his sight. The chip manufacturer needs space after adding 800 new jobs at its Munich headquarters.

Mr. Ploss is not the kind of person to get worked up about it, nor does he like to draw attention to himself. “Putting on a big show is not his thing,” said a colleague of many years. He is modest and reserved, and yet tough as nails, and he enjoys the support of his own team. A native of the Franconia region of Bavaria, Mr. Ploss has transformed the former bankruptcy candidate into a profitable, fast-growing company.

Though Infineon has long been a speculative takeover target, this recovery has made it even more attractive since a buyer doesn’t have to dirty its hands with a restructuring. Broadcom’s $100 billion run at Qualcomm has some wondering if Infineon’s time has come, leading to a 2.2 percent bump in its share price when Qualcomm announced its intentions. The increase probably would have been more pronounced hadn’t the shares already gained about 40 percent this year under Mr. Ploss’s tutelage. By comparison, the benchmark DAX is up only 11 percent. “I have little fear,” he said matter-of-factly when asked if he was afraid of a takeover.

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