Michel Witte (IEE S.A.): A shining star
Michel Witte, CEO at IEE, says Chinese investors were attracted by the company's capability to develop innovative, high-quality products and its efficient way to bring them to the market.
Can you describe IEE in a few words?
IEE is a company that has been evolving with industry trends and its customers for the past thirty years and continues to do so. We are well known for the quality of our sensing solutions that we provide mainly to the automotive industry. However, we are rapidly expanding into areas such as building management, security and eHealth, by combining our sensors with electronics and fitting them into high-tech end products. We focus on comfort, safety, innovation and making people’s lifestyles better overall. Our sensing systems could apply to so many applications that have yet to be found, so we explore all possibilities. Therefore, our R&D team is constantly on its toes and we also actively work with start-ups to develop the next technological breakthrough. We have facilities worldwide and we currently employ over 4,100 people.
“Our sensing systems could apply to so many applications that have yet to be found, so we explore all possibilities.”
How did a Chinese investor get involved in a company like IEE?
In 2008-2009 we started to look for new investors after a long history of private equity funding was coming to a natural end. AS-HITECH, our current shareholder, developed an interest in the potential of our technologies and decided to invest in us starting 2013. They were particularly pleased with our capabilities to develop innovative, high-quality products as well as how we brought them from concept to mass production. Their interest and investment also facilitated an opening for them into the broad and attractive European market and and gave them access to to worldwide activity. IEE has been growing ever since and has continued to intensify its activities abroad. We have also increasingly diversified our panel of sensing solutions by developing non-automotive products such as people counting systems and smart footwear sensing solutions.
How do you foresee the future of your company in the next 5 or 10 years?
“Today just a car, tomorrow a way of life,” is our philosophy for the near future, all the while expanding our horizons to identify new business opportunities in the sports, health tech and IoT areas, for instance. With the automotive trends clearly heading towards autonomous driving, this will greatly impact the way people use cars in their daily lives. We will be there to participate in this vision of the car of the future and the growing occupant sensing market by recreating interactive, comfortable, safe, practical and modern interior spaces. We are today capable of delivering outstanding technology and we will be improving our offering in terms of seat and steering-wheel sensors, 2D and 3D cameras and radar solutions. We have every intention to maintain our leadership status as the world moves into the next technical revolution.