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Thursday 20 December 2001

Gemplus: CEO and Chairman resign

Gemplus announced on Wednesday the immediate resignation of its Chief Executive Antonio Perez and the resignation of its founder and Chairman Dr Marc Lassus effective 10th January 2002. Dr Lassus will however remain a Director of Gemplus. Antonio Perez leaves to pursue other interests.

Mr Ronald Mackintosh an existing member of the company's board of directors takes over the wheel as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Executive committee but resigns his position from the board of directors in order to focus on these new responsibilities.

Dr Hasso Von Falkenhausen has been elected to the board with immediate effect and takes over as chairman on January 10th 2002. Dr Falkenhausen before retiring was previously Chairman of Gemplus from 1997 to 1999.

Antonio Perez's position at Gemplus has looked very fragile over the last 6 months so probably no big surprises there but this is clearly a major shake up of the top of the shop. David Bonderman from the Texas Pacific Group has joined the board of directors as Vice Chairman with Abel Halpern leaving the post but remaining a director. Mr Andrew Dechet and Dr Bertrand Cambou have both resigned from the board.

Apparently a top firm of head-hunters will be appointed to find a new permanent CEO and Chairman. Its hard to imagine which outsider would be truly welcomed into the Gemplus lair but its clear that a radical rethink is required and perhaps more important the oarsmen need to pull in the same direction.


Semiconductor Companies Make Further Cut-Backs

The struggling semiconductor market took another blow yesterday with the news that both Motorola and NEC Semiconductors have announced major job losses.

Motorola is to cut another 8% of its workforce (9,400 jobs) which will affect all its geographical regions and will mean the struggling company will have slashed 32% (45,400) of its workforce since August last year. The latest round of job cuts, which will be implemented over the course of 2002, include 4,000 from its semiconductor operations, 1,300 from its equipment manufacturing businesses and another 4,100 distributed throughout the rest of the company.

Meanwhile, NEC has announced that it is to "suspend" production at its semiconductor plant in West Lothian, Scotland at the cost of 1260 jobs. The company claimed it had attempted to save the plant by switching to the manufacture of LSI chips instead of D-RAM in July, but the demand for the new chips had since decreased on a "day-to-day" basis.


Intellect Implement Australia's First Cash-Back Smart Card

Intellect has announced the rollout of its Microbank systems for Smartcash - the first Australian cash-back loyalty scheme to use Smart Cards. 500 Intellect Microbank terminals have been deployed in Queensland, marking the first phase of the Smartcash program which is expected to eventually roll-out nationwide.

The Smartcash loyalty program rewards customers with a cash-back incentive when they shop with participating businesses. The Smartcash card identifies each customer and records the purchasing history using the Microbank systems. Once a week the data is transmitted to the Smartcash Datacentre, which tabulates the appropriate cashback reward and sends out a monthly cheque to the customer.


EDS and Commerciant Sign $18 Million Mobile Transaction Processing Deal

EDS and Commerciant have signed an agreement allowing EDS to provide transaction processing services for Commerciant's wireless terminals in a five year deal worth $18m.

Under the contract, EDS will provide PoS credit card acceptance and processing for transactions from Commerciant business customers using hand held devices and provide electronic cheque clearing services for Commerciant's MobilScape cheque processing system.


QI Systems Win Hospital Food Vending Contract

Canada's QI Systems has won a contract with an undisclosed food service company in Ontario and Quebec to supply its SmartVend Solution System for use in hospitals.

In the first phase of the project, QI is installing its Smart Card Scheme, Value Reload Stations and Payment Terminals to be connected to cash registers at a food court in a major Montreal area hospital. Upon successful installation of the first phase, similar systems are expected to be installed in more than 30 additional hospitals throughout Ontario and Quebec.

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