Agilent competes in large markets
that are undergoing significant change and are becoming mature.
While overall growth rates in these markets are likely to be modest, there
opportunities for more robust growth within these markets. Our
products, customer relationships and deep technology expertise position us
pursue these opportunities, and we will continue to do so in
As we begin 2005, a reason for caution is the slowdown in the semiconductor
industry that affected our results in the second half of
2004. We believe the industry will work through its capacity
and inventory issues during the first half of 2005, when we expect demand
in our wireless
business to be soft. But we do not believe that we are entering
a deep downturn like the one that started in 2001.
in 2005 start with our focus on maintaining
the financial and operational discipline that was crucial
to our results in 2004.
We will build on the dramatic progress we have made in our
cost structure and IT, manufacturing and other functions.
This year we will also
emphasize the need to improve all aspects of our customers’ experience
with Agilent. We survey our customers in depth on a
regular basis, and we are taking action to increase their
and loyalty. In addition, we are increasing our investments
in employee development in 2005, in order to expand the
capability and commitment of Agilent ’s people.
The start of 2005
is the beginning of Agilent’s sixth year as an
independent company. It has been an incredible first five
We launched the company, grew rapidly, survived the downturn
and transformed virtually every element of how we do business.
Our people and culture have been tested. We have learned
a lot, and we have emerged
as a much stronger company. Now we are embarking on a transformation
in growth and innovation that is equal in scope to the
operational transformation we
have made. Our overarching goal in 2005 is to achieve consistently
profitable growth. The key to doing that is to unleash
the innovative capacity of Agilent’s
people. Our ability to innovate, combined with our outstanding
products, long-term customer relationships and greater
operational efficiency, position
us well to achieve our goals in 2005 and to continue making
Agilent the company we want it to be.
On January 19, 2005,
I announced my intention to retire as Agilent’s
chairman, president and CEO effective March 1, 2005. The
board of directors chose Bill Sullivan, who has been chief
operating officer and head of EPSG,
to be Agilent’s next president and CEO. I will become chairman
emeritus and will work with Bill to ensure a smooth transition.
Jim Cullen, who has been a board member since 2000, will
become the non-executive chairman. Bill is superbly
qualified for his new role. His great track record of results
over many years, leadership
skills and values make him the clear choice to become president
and CEO. With Agilent now in excellent financial condition
and strong operationally,
Bill will lead the company into its next phase, where Agilent
will focus more on growth.
After 38 years with Hewlett-Packard
and Agilent, including the last six as president and CEO,
time for me to start the next phase of my life. I want to thank our
shareholders, employees, customers
for their support of our company over the past six years
and for helping to make my time as CEO fulfilling in so many ways.
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
"Our people and culture have been tested. We have learned a lot, and we have emerged as a much stronger company."