All a bit sudden
GlobalFoundries, the semiconductor manufacturer formed by the acquisition of AMD's fabs by the ATIC investment group, has announced a sudden changing of the guard at the top of the company.
CEO Doug Grose, who came over from AMD when GF was formed back in late 2008, is to step down as CEO and "will transition to become senior advisor to GF and ATIC with a focus on technology leadership and ensuring delivery of next generation technologies for competitive differentiation," according to the announcement.
Meanwhile Chia Song Hwee, who was the CEO of Chartered Semiconductor and was made COO of GF after it acquired Chartered, will leave the company in August.
"Doug Grose and Chia Song Hwee formed the foundation of GF, bringing together the world's leading-edge manufacturing technology with the heritage of a full-service foundry partner," said newly-appointed executive chairman, and former Chartered chairman, James Norling. "This new leadership team will build on that foundation, as we increase investment in technology, capacity and talent while optimizing performance."
Semiconductor industry veteran Ajit Manocha has been appointed interim CEO of GF, but a search has begun for a permanent appointment. They will be hoping the process resolves itself more quickly than it has for AMD. CEO of ATIC, Ibrahim Ajami takes over as vice chairman of the GF board of directors, combining it with his existing role.
"GF, with the continuous support of ATIC, is in the middle of an intense, competitive ramp-up of manufacturing capacity and technology development," said Ajami. "Under this new leadership team, investment in GF will double over the next 18 months."
While we have no reason to doubt ATIC's ambitions for GF, this does all seem rather sudden, and losing both your top execs at once, without warning, will always raise questions. Is this advisory role merely an interim phase before Grose leaves completely? If so why? Maybe he's going back to AMD, but this time as CEO.