Semiconductor CEOs see more turnover in 2003

December 29, 2003 – While the year 2003 (or the latter half of it, anyway) has been generally accepted as the beginning of a long-awaited recovery in the semiconductor industry, it didn’t come soon enough for a growing number of top executives. According to a survey from “Who’s Who in Semiconductors,” 40 CEOs resigned, retired, or were fired by semiconductor companies in 2003 (five in December alone), nearly twice as many as in 2002.

Big heads on the chopping block in 2003 included Bob Helms, who resigned from International Sematech; Henry Nicholas of Broadcom, who stepped down in January; and Young K. Sohn, who left as Oak Technology’s CEO when it was acquired by Zoran, and moved on to head up Agilent Technologies’ chip business. Also on the outs were UMC’s John Hsuan, Silterra Malaysia’s Cyril Hannon, and co-CEOs of Tower Semiconductor, Yoav Nissan-Cohen and Rafi Levin.

Meanwhile, some execs earned the luxury of taking a bow and leaving on their own terms: Motorola Semiconductor’s Fred Shlapak, who retired after 33 years with the company; James Morgan, a 26-year vet with Applied Materials; and TEL’s Tetsuro Higashi, who was named as the company’s chairman.

For a more extensive round-up of 2003’s CEO shuffles, go to


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