Current CEO: Jim Lico
Tektronix, one of Oregon’s leading high-technology companies, was founded in 1946 and rapidly emerged as the world’s leading manufacturer of test and measurement instruments. The company is well known for its innovative designs of oscilloscopes and logic analyzer systems. The success of Tektronix greatly impacted the growth of the high-technology industry in the Portland metropolitan area, attracting talented employees from across the nation. During the early 1980s, the Tektronix workforce grew to approximately 25,000 employees worldwide, with over 15,000 employees in its Beaverton, Oregon headquarters.
In the mid-1980s, Tektronix was faced with declining earnings, primarily due to the company’s rapid expansion and the creation of in-house manufacturing and research divisions. An uncertain period followed, with multiple layoffs and management changes. In 2000, limited corporate spending resulted in Tektronix being recognized as one of the largest and most profitable companies of its type. New Tektronix careers began to emerge as the company grew in prosperity. Individuals working at Tektronix enjoyed the challenging team-oriented environment, job advancement opportunities, excellent compensation and job security.
In November 2007, Tektronix was purchased by Danaher Corporation for a reported purchase price of $2.85 billion. In Danaher’s attempts to redirect the core operations of Tektronix into fields of medical technology, professional instruments and industrial technology, the workforce was reduced by approximately ten percent during the first year after the acquisition. The current Tektronix workforce is estimated between 1,000 and 5,000 employees, although the exact numbers have not been reported.
Tektronix currently operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Danaher Corporation. Danaher has systematically incorporated its business practices into Tektronix operations, including the core philosophy of lean marketing and cost-cutting measures. Danaher executive and management personnel have replaced valued Tektronix professionals, resulting in overall employee dissatisfaction. The Tektronix culture, originally centered on employee training, growth and career advancement, has become one of change and uncertainty. A series of management systems have been implemented to reward employees only through superior performance. While employees are considered important assets, the new management team has placed its primary focus on developing and recruiting new talent.
Tektronix benefits were once considered as among the best in the industry. Medical, dental, vision and prescription drug coverage was offered to employees and eligible dependents. Generous incentive-based bonuses were awarded to dedicated employees. The Tektronix matching 401(k) program and stock purchase plans were designed to provide comfortable retirement packages. Life insurance plans provided excellent coverage for employees and their families. Sabbatical programs and tuition reimbursement plans were established to encourage and assist employees in obtaining advanced degrees or specialized certifications.
A recent report in The Oregonian revealed that Danaher has announced the necessity for immediate structural and workforce cost reductions, including additional employee layoffs. The future of Tektronix remains uncertain under the management of Danaher Corporation.