TUSTIN — Silicon Systems Inc., a semiconductor manufacturer owned by Japan's TDK Corp., said Monday that it has reorganized its operations as part of a long-term plan to fuel the company's growth and boost employment during the 1990s.
Carmelo Santoro, president of Silicon Systems, said the firm expects to add as many as 700 jobs in Orange County and elsewhere by the end of 1991, which would bring its total employment to 2,300. The company is currently trying to fill 170 jobs.
With an estimated $175 million in sales last year, the company has grown too large for the centralized management that has been in place since 1982, when Santoro joined the firm. The restructuring will create a decentralized management structure, with each unit of the company operating as an independent profit-and-loss center.
The Tustin firm will create seven product groups focused on specific markets. The company manufactures microchips primarily for the computer, communications and automotive industries.
"This will make us more responsive to the market," Santoro said. He said that the moves announced Monday are the first phase in a long-term restructuring program and that future changes "will deal more with our manufacturing capabilities." He declined to elaborate on the future reorganization plans, except to say they will be relatively minor.
Santoro said a 13-member management team assisted by two outside consultants has been planning the restructuring for six months. He said the management structure is similar to that used by communications giant Motorola Inc., where Santoro used to work as an executive.
Santoro said the restructuring was done at his own initiative without influence from the company's Japanese parent company, which acquired Silicon Systems in May, 1989, for $224 million.
Santoro said most of the hiring will occur as a result of expansion at the company's wafer fabrication plant in Santa Cruz in 1991.
Company spokesman Mark Jorgensen said roughly half of the new hiring through 1991 will be in Orange County, where the firm now employs about 1,000 people.
Santoro said the level of hiring could be affected by a national recession, but he said he sees strong short-term growth in the computer disk-drive market, which accounts for about 70% of Silicon Systems' sales.
The company announced several changes in its top management. Rick Goerner, currently senior vice president for marketing and sales, has been named to the new post of senior vice president for business operations. Goerner will be responsible for guiding the seven new product lines and associated support organizations.