SMIC shuffles execs, confirms investor talks

February 10, 2010 – Confirming rumors, Chinese flagship foundry Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) says it has appointed several new top execs, and confirmed that it is in talks with an unidentified investor for a financial infusion.

Joining the company as COO is Simon Yang, former CTO/operations SVP of Chartered Semiconductor. Yang was with SMIC back in the early 2000s as VP of technology development and SVP of technology. Other new additions include Chris Chi as chief business officer, with a sales/marketing background at Freescale, UMC, and Chartered. And a new CFO has been appointed: Gary Tseng, former COO at thin-film solar startup China Solar, with a resume including stints at UMC and TSMC in the ’90s. and Philips Semiconductor in the ’80s.

The reason for the management changes, according to CEO David N.K. Wang (himself a recent appointment), is to cut costs and improve the foundry’s operating model, which has long struggled with profitability — and took another hit with a ~$200M settlement last November vs. rival TSMC. Yang (like Wang, quoted by the Financial Times), said his first priority is to reduce costs, noting disparities with rivals TSMC (8× revenues with just 2× the workforce) and UMC (3× revenues with equal workforce). He also cited a need to reduce cycle times.

SMIC also says, in "response to "certain articles in the press," that it is in negotiations with an investor to take an unspecified stake of shares in the company (possibly another deal with Datang Telecom, which ponied up an investment in 2008). The company stresses in a statement that this deal is still in negotiations with no definitive and binding agreement finalized, nor is any assured to be completed. SMIC says remains committed to, "as always, also looking at other strategic and/or other opportunities to enhance shareholder value," but with no new decision made about any resulting transaction.


Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account. Comments won't automatically be posted to your social media accounts unless you select to share.