The gut-wrenching news in the economy seems to get more painful daily. Economists make predictions on how and when things will turn around; analysts play the blame game as to how we got into this mess in the first place. Cut it any way you like: on multiple fronts, we have experienced a mind-boggling crisis of leadership — leadership so poor it can be most easily explained as utter incompetency and/or criminal negligence.
Still, in spite of all the negative headlines, for most of us, life goes on more or less as usual. (Well, make that mainly less!) The electronics sector is waiting to see just how great the fallout from mortgages, banking and automakers will be on semiconductors and on power electronics. At an even more personal level, we hope that we are at individual companies that have been carefully and responsibly managed to survive the economic vicissitudes.
In light of this, it is an opportune time to produce our annual CEO Special Report and to talk to CEOs at some of the leading companies in the power electronics industry. Well-managed companies not only get through tough times, but can position themselves to continue growing now and as the economy recovers. Good leadership is important in all economic climates, but it is really put to the test in times such as these.
Going forward, the power electronics industry should be especially well-positioned, given the emphasis of the incoming Obama administration on supporting alternative energy and green technologies. Obama has released a plan that includes the following planks:
- Help create 5 million new jobs by investing $150 billion over the next 10 years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.
- Put 1 million plug-in hybrid cars — cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon — on the road by 2015, cars to be built in America.
- Ensure 10% of the electricity in the United States comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25% by 2025
- Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 80% by 2050.
Whatever side of the political spectrum their leaders might be on, those power companies that can catch this coming wave should be able to ride the power efficiency through these tough times and into the next cycle of growth.
We trust this CEO issue will provide some insight from thoughtful leaders who will steer their companies to a bright future.