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September 27, 1999
Radhika R Shankar
Imagine the display screen in an aircraft or at a medical facility failing. Or, more conventionally, an ATM facility with a faulty or non-working screen.
Though no one likes the idea, Balaji Krishnamurthy hates the thought worse than most, especially now that he heads a company known for making quality electronic information displays used in aircraft, hospitals and a number of facilities in North America and Europe.
The firm, Planar Systems Inc, has become, since its inception in 1983, a worldwide leader in display technology.
Planar produces monochrome and color information display components for more than 500 original equipment manufacturers and is a major supplier of displays for use in military aircraft and ground vehicles. The company competes on a global basis, with full development, manufacturing and marketing operations in both the United States and Europe.
Krishnamurthy, who was recently appointed president, chief executive officer, and as a director of the Planar Systems Inc, wants to increase the company's market, particularly in Asia and South America.
Bill Walker, Planar's chairman and CEO, considers Krishnamurthy as a market-driven executive who would bring exceptional vision, managerial skills, and experience to Planar. "He has established a superb record as a strategist and in building and managing technology-based businesses," says Walker.
Planar's CEO also believes that Krishnamurthy's experience and knowledge in business development will increase the company's efforts in developing and marketing embedded systems. With Planar's plans to focus its growth in the area of display products, electronics, firmware and software, Krishnamurthy's experience is expected to play a key role in the company's business development.
Planar had third quarter sales of $ 30.4 million. For the first nine months of the year, sales were $ 90.1 million. Year-to-date net income was $ 2 million.
After getting his master's degree in engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in India, Krishnamurthy went to Massachusetts for higher studies. After getting his masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Massachusetts, he began his career at General Electric.
His career focus on the information display field began at Tektronix Inc, a global high-technology name in the color printing, video and networking business. During his 15 years at Tektronics, he also contributed the company's television business unit and provided leadership to the business as the company's vice-president and general manager.
His experience at Tektronix should be an asset in Planar, which also manufactures display systems for specialized applications and provides instrument and device designers with complete display systems ready to be installed into their applications.
Krishnamurthy says he is excited about the expanding market opportunities ahead for Planar as the electronics world enters the next millennium.
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