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North Bay Business Journal

Tuesday, October 1, 2013, 2:50 pm

New Agilent enterprise expected to grow

Leaders expect to add 80 positions as it becomes global headquarters

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    SANTA ROSA –About 80 new positions will be created in Santa Rosa by the new electronic measurement company that will be headquartered here after it is spun off from Agilent Technologies, company officials said.

    Agilent Technologies currently has about 1,200 employees.

    “I’m excited. The employees are excited. This is going to be a great company and it couldn’t be in a better spot than Santa Rosa,” said Ron Nersesian, the long-time executive of Agilent Technologies and most recently president and chief operating officer – the number two spot after Agilent CEO Bill Sullivan. Mr. Nersesian is poised to take over as CEO the Santa Rosa-based electronic measurement company.

    Mr. Nersesian won’t take the title of CEO until the dividend date, expected to be sometime next year, when shareholders receive stock in the new company in addition to their Agilent stock. Meanwhile, there’s a new board of directors to choose as well as a name and logo and countless details to be worked out separating the two companies.

    There is a professional search team looking for about five directors initially, with expertise in  areas such as communications, aerospace-defense and finance. They’ll come from all over the country and perhaps abroad, but their meetings will take place in Santa Rosa.

    Another professional outside team is generating names for the new company, and an employee committee will be responsible for narrowing the field, after which a winning name will be picked, he said.

    About 80 new professional-level positions will be filled in Santa Rosa, many with Agilent workers who will relocate to the area, said Mr. Nersesian. “And some will be hired locally as we fill out functions now shared with our facility in Santa Clara.”

    Although the spin-off was due in part to shareholders unhappy with the volatile nature of communications and aerospace-defense markets, which are currently in a slump – the electronic measurement group reported a 17 percent drop in revenues for the last quarter – he isn’t worried.

    “The electronic measurement group has brought in lots of money over the years, money that was spent to grow other parts of the company’s business. Now that money can be spent on growing our own business,” said Mr. Nersesian. “We have a number of new product platforms and projects underway.”

    He and company leaders, including Guy Séné, currently president of the electronic measurement group and soon to lead the R&D, sales and marketing teams of the new company, have been flying around the world to personally notify the company’s 9,500 workers of the change.

    “We’ve been to China Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Germany and several states in the U.S.  The reception was great everywhere, very positive,” he said.

    The most positive reception of all came from Mr. Nersesian’s own family.

    “They’re ecstatic. I’ve moved them from the East Coast to Colorado to Santa Rosa, and it was looking like we’d be moving again to Santa Clara. Being able to stay here is wonderful.”

    The new company can be sure of its welcome in Sonoma County. Paying close to $100,000, with benefits, per employee, it pumps a significant amount of money into the local economy in addition to its many philanthropic and educational enterprises.

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