updated 09:13 am EDT, Mon March 10, 2014
Employees en route to improve efficiency, cost-effectiveness of manufacturing
Chip manufacturer Freescale Semiconductor revealed today that 20 employees, responsible for streamlining manufacturing efforts in China and Kuala Lumpur, may have perished in this weekend's disappearance of Malaysian Air's flight MH370. While less than one percent of the overall workforce, most of the 20 were high-level engineers with "a lot of experience and technical background," according to a company spokesman.
"At present, we are solely focused on our employees and their families," said CEO Gregg Lowe. "Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this tragic event."
Freescale Semiconductor was split from Motorola in 2003. The manufacturer is based in Austin, TX and develops embedded hardware, with 17 billion semiconductor chips in use around the world. The company focuses on the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets with its product portfolio, including microprocessors, micro-controllers, digital signal processors, digital signal controllers, sensors, RF power integrated circuits and power management controllers. The division that would ultimately become Freescale was one of the driving forces (in conjunction with IBM) behind Apple's PowerPC chip line, up to the last G3 releases.
The employees lost were part of a larger effort spearheaded by Lowe to make manufacturing plants more efficient, increasing cost-effectiveness. The employees lost were called "very important people" by company spokesman Mitch Haws. "It's definitely a loss for the company."