TAIPEI — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) Chairman Morris Chang has announced his retirement from the company in June next year. He will turn over leadership to the current co-CEOs.

Chang, who is 86 this year, 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, an organization that helped to spin off a number of Taiwan’s largest chip companies.

Morris Chang (Photo: TSMC)
Morris Chang (Photo: TSMC)

Chang founded TSMC in 1987 as one of the world’s first pure-play foundries, a business which at the time was a tiny startup that was met with a great deal of skepticism within the semiconductor industry. Today, TSMC has become one of the largest companies in the industry by offering advanced process technology and ample production capacity to customers that range from Apple to ZTE.

“From early June, 2018 on, TSMC will be under the dual leadership of Mark Liu and C.C. Wei.” Chang said in a press statement. “Liu will be the chairman of the board, and C.C. Wei will be the chief executive officer.”

Chang said he will not remain on the board of directors after his retirement, nor will he participate in any TSMC management activities after the annual shareholders meeting in June next year.

Liu and Wei have been co-CEOs of TSMC since 2013, and have performed outstandingly, Chang said. After his retirement, with the continued supervision and support of an essentially unchanged board, and under the dual leadership of Liu and Wei, TSMC will continue to perform exceptionally, Chang said.

Chang was born in Ningbo, China and spent his early childhood in the throes of the Chinese Civil War, moving with his family to Hong Kong and other cities in South China before escaping to the U.S.

In the U.S., Chang attended Harvard University and transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering. During his 25-year career at Texas Instruments, he rose up in the ranks to become the group vice president responsible for TI's worldwide semiconductor business. During his tenure with TI, the company sent him to Stanford University, where he received a PhD in electrical engineering.

Chang earlier this year became a billionaire for the first time after his stock holdings in TSMC soared in value. TSMC’s market capitalization of $184.7 billion now exceeds that of Intel at $178.9 billion.

—Alan Patterson covers the semiconductor industry for EE Times. He is based in Taiwan.