Tsao steps down as UMC head

Hsinchu, Taiwan – United Microlectronics Corp. (UMC) announced today that effective April 1st, Robert Tsao will no longer serve as the company CEO. The position will be taken over by Vice Chairman John Hsuan, while Tsao will continue to serve as chairman for the company.

In its release, UMC wrote, “This top-level reorganization will allow our management team to maximize our efficiency by allowing us to better specialize our individual efforts. John Hsuan possesses extensive sales and marketing experience, making him a particularly ideal candidate for the CEO position. This move also reflects UMC’s customer-centric mentality, as it will create a more dynamic management team allowing us to further focus our efforts towards gaining market share as the industry recovers.”

UMC is one of the two largest foundries in Taiwan, along with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. It is widely expected that both UMC and TSMC will began investing in 200mm fabs in mainland China following a recent ruling by the Taiwanese government, allowing such investment by companies that first start up 300mm fabs in Taiwan.

In other Taiwan foundry news, both UMC and TSMC reported no major difficulties from the recent earthquake.

UMC reported its employees are safe and there was no interruption in power or water service following the 6.8 magnitude earthquake (Hsinchu 4.0, Tainan 2.0) that shook Taiwan on the afternoon of March 31st. A very minimal amount of equipment was slightly affected but UMC’s engineering team is working hard to speed the full recovery.

“UMC is constantly upgrading and evaluating its practices to provide a safe working environment to better prepare for man-made and natural disasters, as demonstrated by our rapid wafer ramp-up following the 9/21 earthquake in 1999,” said Tsao. “We are glad that this preparation has also helped minimize the disruption following this recent earthquake.”

TSMC reported that the company’s buildings, HVAC systems, water distribution and power distribution systems successfully withstood the effects of the earthquake. All the fabs have gradually resumed normal production after a thorough equipment check.

TSMC President Dr. Rick Tsai said, “There was no power outage due to the earthquake. The fab tool inspection assessments indicate that only minimal adjustment and repairs for the equipment are necessary. All the fabs have gradually resumed normal production. According to the initial report, there was approximately half day to one day’s loss of wafer movement, which has very minimal impact on the company’s revenue for Q2 2002.”


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