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AMSTERDAM, March 31 (Reuters) - Dutch restructuring expert Frans van Houten, 50, will take over as chief executive of Philips (PHG.AS), the Dutch consumer electronics, lighting and healthcare equipment company, on April 1. [ID:nLDE72U0WR]
Van Houten will replace Gerard Kleisterlee, who will head Vodafone (VOD.L). Here are some facts about van Houten:
* He spent much of his career at Philips, joining at the age of 26, with stints in the United States, Singapore and Germany.
He became co-CEO of the consumer electronics division in 2002, at a time when Philips used its technology lab to research how people interact with technology, resulting in the development of products such as TVs which turned into mirrors when switched off, and "wake up lamps" used as alarm clocks.
* He was promoted to run its semiconductor business, later renamed NXP Semiconductors, in 2004. Two years later he was in charge of spinning it off at the top of the cycle for $8 billion. He stayed on as head of NXP Semiconductors for another 2-1/2 years, during which period the business faltered as chip prices came up pressure.
* With a reputation as a restructuring expert acquired with the spin-off of NXP, van Houten went on to advise semiconductor equipment maker ASM International (ASMI.AS) on its restructuring before moving to Dutch bancassurer ING ING.AS to advise on the separation of its banking and insurance operations.
* The ING separation saw Van Houten work closely with two other former Philips colleagues -- Jan Hommen, ING's chief executive, and Ivo Lurvink, its head of acquisitions and divestments who was also a close friend from their time at Rotterdam's Erasmus University.
* Van Houten has a reputation as a straight talker who is accessible to staff and understated but who does not waste time on small talk. His next restructuring job is likely to be the fixing or sale of Philips's ailing TV business, the subject of a profit warning earlier this week. [ID:nLDE72R03L]
He told analysts at the beginning of March that although Philips TVs were important globally for the brand image, the business should no longer be a distraction for the group.
Sources: Philips, Reuters (Reporting by Roberta B. Cowan; Editing by Sara Webb and Dan Lalor)