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TSMC’s Chang to Retire Next June

Chairman Morris Chang shown at Hsinchu, Taiwan.

Morris Chang, who founded and led the world’s biggest foundry chip maker, has announced his retirement.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) has just announced that its founder and chief executive officer will retire in June next year.

Morris Chang, who is 86 years old, said that his retirement will be effective immediately after the Annual Shareholders Meeting in early June of the next year.

“I will not be a director in the next term of the board of directors. Nor will I participate in any TSMC management activities,” said Chang.

Chang founded TSMC in 1987 with a capital of 1.4 billion Taiwanese dollars (equivalent to $45 million). He also pioneered contract chip manufacturing, in which the company served chip design firms that didn’t have their own factories.

The company has grown to be the commander of 56 percent of the $47 billion market. Its revenue has climbed and sky rocketed up to roughly $30 billion in 2016. The company now has a market value of about $185 billion.

The world’s biggest foundry chip maker will be under the dual leadership of Mark Liu and C. C. Wei, who have both served as co-CEOs since 2013.

“All present directors of the board have agreed to be nominated, and if elected, serve as directors of the board during the aforementioned dual leadership of the company under Drs. Liu and Wei,” said Chang in a press release.

Dr. Mark Liu will sit as the Chairman of the board, while Dr. Wei will become the sole chief executive officer.

Chang cited personal goals for his retirement.

“The past 30-odd years, during which I founded and devoted myself to TSMC, have been an extraordinarily exciting and happy phase of my life. Now, I want to reserve my remaining years for myself and my family,” he said.

Chang’s exit comes in the midst of elevated competition.

TSMC, which is an Apple Inc supplier, is attempting to diversify its customer base while also moving into emerging industries like artificial intelligence and autonomous driving. There is also the growing critical threat from Samsung Electronics, which is the world’s top memory chip maker.  Samsung plans to aggressively add clients to swell the market share of its contract chip manufacturing business three times more than its previous figure.

In spite of this, Chang nonetheless expressed his confidence with TSMC’s outlook and future.

“Mark and CC have been Co-CEOs of the company since 2013, and have performed outstandingly. After my retirement, with the continued supervision and support of an essentially unchanged board, and under the dual leadership of Mark and CC, I am confident that TSMC will continue to perform exceptionally,” said Chang.

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