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May 25, 2022

Chairman reassures Anritsu workforce

After massive layoffs he tells them

Every storm stops.

By SHERRY HEMINGWAY
Pinnacle Correspondent
The international chairman of Anritsu Corporation traveled from
Tokyo to Morgan Hill this week with a fortune cookie and sage
advice for his employees coping within the hard-hit
telecommunications industry.
After massive layoffs he tells them “Every storm stops.”

By SHERRY HEMINGWAY

Pinnacle Correspondent

The international chairman of Anritsu Corporation traveled from Tokyo to Morgan Hill this week with a fortune cookie and sage advice for his employees coping within the hard-hit telecommunications industry.

“Every storm stops after some time,” said Yasuo Nakagawa, predicting that the company is nearing the deepest part of the current decline and will hold on until the inevitable upturn. “The macro trend is some peaks and some valleys.”

The upbeat message was important for the employees of Anritsu, whose U.S. headquarters is based in Morgan Hill. Three major layoffs in the past 12 months have reduced Anritsu’s workforce by 40 percent. Since last October Anritsu shrank the number of local employees from 1,000 to 600 and lost its ranking as Morgan Hill’s largest employer. Today it is in second place, behind the Morgan Hill Unified School District.

Nakagawa, who lived in Morgan Hill and headed local operations in the early 1990s, said that Anritsu has never discussed closing down in the United States.

“Our U.S. operations are not just the right arm or legs of the company, but are part of our brain,” said Nakagawa. “We cannot be divided.”

In meetings with employees, Nakagawa talked about the status of the telecommunications industry, the company’s longterm view and how to make the best of down markets.

He encouraged creative thinking, enthusiastically pulling out the fortune from a recently acquired fortune cookie. The cookie’s message: “Infinite ideas are waiting to be awoken in your mind.”

He told employees that “even though people have left Anritsu, good people remain. People in general use 2 to 3 percent of their brain capability. We now have to double that. I tell everybody you must use your brain double of that in the past.”

The chairman is “very optimistic” about the future of telecommunications, particularly broadband communications for business and home use. His enthusiasm was well received by employees.

“Our employees were relieved and encouraged by Nakagawa-san’s message,”

said Gina Varela Faust, Anritsu’s corporate communications manager. “We

were pleased to hear that the U.S. operations are an essential part of the company’s overall success.”

Anritsu designs and manufactures products for the information and telecommunications industry. Its primary business is communications test equipment used by other companies in the design or test of their products or networks. The company’s current focus is mobile- and Internet-related technology for ultra-high-speed communications and network fields. Japan accounts for 49 percent and the Americas account for 20 percent of total sales.

And while the industry is still reeling from excess infrastructure built in the 1990’s, Nakagawa takes the long view while the need for new capacity rebuilds. Globally, he points to significant areas of opportunity, as illustrated by Anritsu’s placement of 10 offices in China.

Anritsu’s U.S. head Mark Evans said “We expect to stay at this smaller level for the next year or year and a half, and we still have a number of things that can do better than the overall market.”

Anritsu is shifting its sales approach and seeking out the areas of business where money is being spent, such as high-speed communications and defense spending.

“Sooner or later the food chain gets down to test equipment,” he said.

Evans also reaffirmed the company’s commitment to Morgan Hill. “All the advantages of why we came here are still here. When things pick up – and they will – this is a nice community with cost and recruiting advantages.”

Anritsu Corporation stock is publicly traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The company as founded in 1895 and the local operation came with the acquisition of Wiltron Company of Morgan Hill in 1990.

Anritsu’s sales in 2000 were $1.3 billions and in 2001 were $1 billion.

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