“2024 is the year of people, innovation, and optimization”

Interview with Marc Biron, Melexis CEO

2024 is the year of people, innovation, and optimization

Melexis is pivoting for the future with CEO Marc Biron leading the company towards the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. He reveals plans that will define the company's direction for the time ahead, with a strong focus on people, innovation, and optimization.

We are now well into 2024. What learnings did you bring from 2023 into this year?

“The world is changing, and so is Melexis. We want to make a meaningful impact and seize opportunities from the changes. We aim to drive change in the semiconductor market globally by taking into account external factors like climate change, China’s growth, and the aging population. That is why we are actively transforming our culture as well.”

While maintaining strong contacts with European Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), we are actively building connections in Asia. Adapting to the expectations of Asian customers, who prioritize speed, cost efficient solutions and specific product requirements, is crucial.”

“As CEO, my role within the company is to put my team in the best condition to perform. I believe in explaining why things are done and giving the team the freedom to choose how to do them, which encourages self-motivation. By creating this entrepreneurial mindset, enabling fast decision-making, and giving our teams more autonomy, we're shortening communication lines between units to unite business and development teams, boosting innovation and forward thinking.”

Melexis is active in a very competitive market. 90% of your revenue is coming from the automotive sector. So what milestones does Melexis aim to achieve in the automotive industry?

“Our strategy in 2024 and beyond is clear: our focus on the automotive industry remains. We want to achieve a 10% compound annual growth in the automotive domain. With our talented teams all around the world, we are committed to advancing Powertrain, Thermal Management, Battery, as well as E-braking, E-steering, and Lighting.”

“In our five focus areas, we are developing and upgrading products applied to various aspects of electric vehicle (EV) technology as well as the safety and comfort of passengers. Upgrades to the Powertrain enhance the all-electric range, road performance, and comfort. Improved Thermal Management optimizes energy, increasing the All Electric Range while optimizing cabin heating and cooling. Enhanced Battery technology ensures safety and longevity. Lighting solutions bring comfort, safety, and functionality to the interior and exterior of EVs. Innovations in E-braking and E-steering provide precise control, responsiveness, reliability, and safety.”

Melexis is mostly recognized for its work within the automotive industry, but there is a need and a wish to expand. What other sector does Melexis target beyond the automotive industry?

“Although automotive remains at the core of our strategy, we will also keep investing in industries beyond automotive. Two years ago, we established an innovation team with the primary objective of expanding our business beyond automotive in four key domains: Alternative mobility, Digital Health, Robotics and a Sustainable World. Within these four areas, every new product category is treated like a start-up, with teams specifically assigned to oversee the development of each. We aim for 15% or higher annual sales growth in these areas by 2030.”

Regarding the business side of robotics, can you provide more insight into Melexis' growing involvement in the field of robotics?

“We foresee huge growth in the adoption of collaborative robots and predict an expansion of service robots. In fact, we strongly believe in the arrival of humanoid robots within the next years. That is why one year ago, we unveiled our Tactaxis project, a major innovation designed to enhance robots' capacity to interact with delicate objects. This fully integrated tactile sensor improves the robot’s hands and grippers, making delicate operations such as fruit picking possible. This is not science fiction anymore, this is happening now. In 2024, we intend to advance this project by incorporating additional features.”

Woman with robot

Will electronics also take on a growing role within digital health?

“Yes, it will. In addition to that, in times of an aging population, scarcity of medical staff, and affordability of healthcare, sensors are vital. Melexis can play a pivotal role in optimizing the quality of life of the elderly. Our teams are working on affordable solutions that are revolutionizing the healthcare sector, such as in-vitro diagnostics devices, wearables, and skin patches. For 2024, we continue to invest in digital health to ensure the well-being of the population.”

You talked earlier about alternative mobility. Does your experience in the automotive sector help to better understand alternative mobility?

“Yes, it does. Melexis bridges automotive advancements with alternative mobility solutions. With our engineers, we are exploring how advancements in one industry can inspire and interconnect with the other. We uncovered a spectrum of possibilities. For example, many movements in automotive applications are similar to electric (motor)bikes or in drones. As urban populations grow and environmental considerations take center stage, the exploration of diverse options also aligns alternative mobility with a sustainable world.”

We have a last question to conclude this interview, with all these plans and new opportunities, what does “Innovation with heart” mean nowadays?

“The “heart” aspect has two dimensions. Firstly, it embodies our dedication to innovating for the betterment of people and the planet, enhancing comfort and safety, particularly in our vehicles, and it reflects our commitment to the planet, with a focus on CO2 reduction. Secondly, the heart symbolizes the commitment that is rooted in the DNA and mission of our colleagues, who find joy and passion in innovation. We understand the importance of our work, take pride in it, and share enthusiasm for making a positive impact. That’s what we call ‘innovation with heart’.”