Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) said its founder and chairman, Morris Chang, will retire next June, after having built the company into the world's biggest foundry chipmaker with a market value of about $185 billion.
"I will retire from the company immediately after the Annual Shareholders Meeting in early June, 2018. I will not be a director in the next term of the board of directors. Nor will I participate in any TSMC management activities after the Annual Shareholders Meeting in early June, 2018," 86-year-old Chang said.
From early June, 2018 on, TSMC will be under the dual leadership of Dr. Mark Liu and Dr. C.C. Wei. Dr. Mark Liu will be the Chairman of the Board, and Dr. C.C. Wei will be the Chief Executive Officer. All present directors of the board have agreed to be nominated, and if elected, serve as directors of the board during the next term. They have also agreed to support the afore-mentioned dual leadership of the company under Drs. Liu and Wei.
Chang is a semiconductor industry veteran who rose to the top management of Texas Instruments and General Instruments Corp. before he was recruited by the Taiwan government to become chairman of the Industrial Technology Research Institute.
He founded TSMC in 1987 as one of the world's first pure-play foundries.
He studied in Harvard University and was transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering.
The change in leadership change comes at a critical time as the Apple supplier seeks to diversify its customer base and move into emerging industries such as artificial intelligence and autonomous driving.
It must also deal with a "threat" from Samsung Electronics, the world's top memory chipmaker, which plans to triple the market share of its contract chip manufacturing business within the next five years by aggressively adding clients.
Chang founded TSMC in 1987 with paid-in capital of T$1.4 billion ($45 million) and pioneered contract chip manufacturing for chip design firms which don't have their own factories.
TSMC has since grown to command 56 percent of the $47 billion market while revenue has climbed to almost $30 billion in 2016.
Chairman Morris Chang further said "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. Mark and CC have been Co-CEO's 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".