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Xilinx CEO reminds Santa Clara University graduates of the importance of values and ethics
SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 11, 2004 –Willem “Wim” Roelandts, a former Hewlett-Packard executive and president and CEO of Xilinx, addressed Santa Clara University graduates at a commencement ceremony today in the Leavey Center at SCU. Xilinx (XLNX) is the leader in the digital programmable logic device (PLD) market.
Roelandts reminded the recipients of post-graduate degrees from SCU of the importance of personal credibility. “In American business today, the widening credibility gap of leaders – the difference between what they say and what they do -- is very prevalent and very damaging. This credibility gap has brought about a devastating lack of trust between management and employees,” said Roelandts.
Roelandts said that in recent scandals “when executives are indicted for feathering their own nests, trust is the victim.”
Looking back at the downturn in the semiconductor industry in 2001 and how it affected Xilinx, Roelandts confessed that it was a tough decision to stand by some of the company’s core values: respect for the individual and integrity. “Many wondered if we would lay off employees…I felt it would be disrespectful to our employees to hand out pink slips unless it was necessary as a very last resort.... So we did not lay off people. It was tough during those dark times to stay true to what we believe in.”
His advice to graduating students: be very clear on what your values are, stay true to them and find a company whose values match your own.
Roelandts received an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree. Graduate degrees were conferred in the schools of Business, Engineering, and Education, Counseling Psychology and Pastoral Ministries.
At the ceremonies, 370 M.B.A degrees and 279 masters in engineering degrees were awarded. In addition, 127 graduates received master's degrees in education, 64 received master's degrees in counseling psychology and 21 graduates received master’s degrees in pastoral ministries.
Roelandts is on the boards of the Semiconductor Industry Association; the Fabless Semiconductor Association; and
Roelandts joined Xilinx after a 30-year career in management at Hewlett-Packard Co. In his most recent position, he served as senior vice president and was responsible for all aspects of HP's then -$6 billion worldwide computer systems business, including research and development, manufacturing, marketing, professional services, and sales.
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,047 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the fourth-highest graduation rate among all