TSMC’s founder to retire in June


TAIPEI • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) chairman and founder Morris Chang will retire in June next year, handing the helm of the world’s largest producer of made-to-order micro-chips to the company’s two co-chief executives.

Breaking with tradition, Chang used his retirement announcement to issue a 2017 revenue forecast that surpassed analysts’ estimates. TSMC’s sales growth should be close to 10% this year in US dollar terms, he said, a pace that surpasses the roughly 4% projected.

Mark Liu will succeed the 86-year-old Chang as chairman, and will have the final say in all business decisions and strategic direction. CC Wei will become CEO, orchestrating operations but taking his cues from the board, Chang told reporters at a news conference yesterday.

The announcement confirmed longstanding speculation about the heirs-apparent and establishes a formal succession at the manufacturer of chips for Qualcomm Inc and Apple Inc — its largest customer. Chang — who stepped down as CEO in 2013 after the board installed Liu and Wei as his lieutenants — left little doubt he plans to step completely away from the corporation he founded in 1987.

“I came to my decision to retire gradually. Of course it had something to do with my age,” Chang said, emphasising he will no longer hold any positions at the company come June. “As for when, I made that decision at the beginning of this year.”

Liu and Wei will inherit a company that in three decades established itself as the world’s pre-eminent foundry or contract chipmaker, about 30 times larger than local rival United Microelectronics Corp. It spends billions on constant upgrades and new production facilities to keep pace with rivals like Intel Corp and Samsung Electronics Co in using the most advanced processing technologies. — Bloomberg