“I never made use of what I studied. I studied mechanical engineering”, recounts Ziebart, “then I went to BMW where I worked on body design. I then headed up the electronics design department which meant I had to learn about electronics. I learned that, with electronics, some work is seen as superior to other kinds of work. And I learnt that designing ICs is the best kind of work of all.”
Ziebart decided he wanted to learn how to design an IC. “At that time BMW had a stake in a chip design company called ELMOS which was working closely with BMW. So I designed an IC to go into a seat heater. Actually it was quite complicated. It was made in three micron technology.”
Did it work first time? “No,” he laughed.
Nonetheless, the experience cemented his interest in ICs. “For me electronics was something superior, and IC design was superior to normal electronics,” said Ziebart, “so when the opportunity arose to lead Infineon it was, for me, a no-brainer. I still feel that. In the IC business the stuff you are dealing with it is absolutely great. You’re working on the leading age of technology, which for an engineer is wonderful, and the business is moving so fast.”