Interview: Guy Séné, Agilent Technologies

Dec. 9, 2013
Guy Séné, president of Agilent Technologies' Electronic Measurement Group, discusses the firm's impeding split into two companies.
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NF: In September, Agilent announced that it is splitting into two companies. One will comprise life sciences, diagnostics, and applied markets while the other will consist of the electronic-measurement business. What inspired this split?

GS: It is clear that Agilent has evolved into two distinct investment and business opportunities. As a result, we are creating two separate and strategically focused companies to allow both firms to maximize their growth and success. As separate companies, the management of each will be able to focus on their own businesses and customers and use their resources to grow in their marketplace while accelerating the development of solutions for customers. Specifically, in electronic design and test, we will be solely tasked with growing our business and remaining highly competitive to extend our leadership in test and measurement tools and solutions.

Guy Séné, president of Agilent Technologies' Electronic Measurement Group

NF: Because the electronic-measurement business is being spun out into its own company, will both firms still be publicly traded as separate entities?

GS: Each will have its own board of directors and its own publicly traded stock.

NF: Obviously, from a business perspective, you expect many positive things from this move. Can you provide some details on those benefits?

GS: I think the industry will experience a stronger, more focused company that has a tremendous level of expertise and passion in electronic measurement. The electronics test business has matured and has witnessed a slowdown. But it is still a $13-billion industry that has yet to be tapped out of innovative products, which require the highest level of design and test to bring to the marketplace.

NF: What about from a technology-development perspective? Do you expect R&D to become more streamlined, aggressive, etc., for each of the two new companies?

GS: We will continue to lead the industry and invest in R&D to create innovative time-to-market products that address customer needs.Our current strategy has created leadership products in core platforms and instrumentation. We also have delivered customer-acknowledged award winners in oscilloscopes, handhelds, and modular instrumentation.Our R&D—when combined with our extensive technology supply chain and measurement expertise—has earned us prominent customer recognition for over 75 years.

NF: Will customer support be impacted?

GS: Customers can expect the same team and same organization, resulting in continued innovative technology and high-quality attention to their needs. Agilent has always delivered. In fact, this customer-service approach has been in place since the electronic measurement division launched as the Hewlett-Packard Company in 1939. The customer-support transition will be seamless.

NF: When is the deadline for this move?

GS: We expect to complete the separation by early November 2014, subject to local legal procedures.

NF: While the life sciences, diagnostics, and applied markets company will still be known as Agilent, I understand that the electronic-measurement business will have a new name. When will that new name be unveiled? Can you give us any hints?

GS: We are really excited about our work to identify and launch our new name. Stay tuned because we will announce that name in the coming months.

NF: For each company, the current leaders will stand, correct? Bill Sullivan will be president and CEO of Agilent while Ron Nersesian will hold those titles on the electronic-measurement side. What about the management level under Ron Nersesian?

GS: The leadership remains the same. These individuals have a deep understanding of test and measurement and are seen as thought leaders in the industry.

NF: Will there be any significant changes to the electronic-measurement division’s product roadmap?

GS: We have the largest catalog of solutions in the industry and we keep enhancing it. Our core products are signal sources, signal analyzers, network analyzers, one-box testers, and oscilloscopes with traditional form factors as well as modular and handheld instruments—all highly integrated with superior design and test software. Those offerings are complemented by our service organization.Our market focuses will continue to be wireless communications, aerospace and defense, computing, and semiconductor. Each of those markets is driven by increasingly sophisticated electronics and anywhere, anytime connectivity. What changes is that we will apply all of our resources to opportunities to further serve our customers with a 100% focus on electronic measurement applications.

NF: Do you expect the new company to have any focuses beyond communications, aerospace and defense, computing, and semiconductor industries?

GS: Our legacy is one of contribution; we make a significant impact on the security, dependability, and connectivity of the world.We maintain leadership in key technology standards bodies and make advances in measurement science. We innovate with new form factors and cross-platform solutions. I see this new company increasing its contribution to our customers by continuing to pioneer measurement technologies and solutions that anticipate their future challenges.I see us maintaining our key strengths, but reinventing ourselves with a more focused business model that is 100% suited to the needs of electronic measurement and customer success.

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About the Author

Nancy Friedrich | Editor-in-Chief

Nancy Friedrich began her career in technical publishing in 1998. After a stint with sister publication Electronic Design as Chief Copy Editor, Nancy worked as Managing Editor of Embedded Systems Development. She then became a Technology Editor at Wireless Systems Design, an offshoot of Microwaves & RF. Nancy has called the microwave space “home” since 2005.

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