Globalfoundries replaces CEO in management shakeup

The chip maker said it is gearing for new investments, faster technology delivery, and agility

Chip maker GlobalFoundries said two top executives have stepped down and been replaced by a new leadership team as the company looks to step up investments and boost chip manufacturing capacity through next year.

The company announced that Doug Grose will no longer be CEO, and will be replaced by Ajit Manocha, a semiconductor industry veteran who was previously vice president of operations at memory company Spansion.

Grose, who ran GlobalFoundries since it was founded in 2009, will become a senior advisor. His successor will operate as an interim CEO until a permanent CEO is found.

GlobalFoundries also said Chia Song Hwee, the chief operating officer, would depart the company in August 2011. The company did not announce a replacement.

Customers are asking for more capacity, faster technology delivery and greater agility, and the company's Board intends for the new management team to meet those customer needs while improving operational performance, GlobalFoundries said. It did not however explain why the previous management was not up to the task.

GlobalFoundries began operations after Advanced Micro Devices' manufacturing arm was spun off. The company operates fabs in the U.S., Germany and Singapore, where it makes CPU chips, graphics chips and other integrated chips for computing products such as PCs, tablets and smartphones. GlobalFoundries will begin construction of a new manufacturing plant in Abu Dhabi next year which will start operating in 2015.

In just two years of operations, the company has attracted a huge demand from customers to make chips for computing devices, said Jason Gorss, a GlobalFoundries spokesman, in an e-mail.

The company will be investing around US$6 billion by end 2012 for initial construction of the Abu Dhabi factory and to add capacity in its current factories, Gorss said.

GlobalFoundries aims to become a big technology player in the Middle East through the Abu Dhabi factory. Intel is also a regional powerhouse, as it has a fab and designs chips in Israel.

GlobalFoundries is currently making AMD's mainstream PC chips code-named Llano using the 32-nanometer process. The chips were officially announced earlier this week and are now available in some laptops from Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba.

The semiconductor manufacturing company is majority owned by Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), a part of the Abu Dhabi government's Mubadala Development investment arm. AMD has a minority stake in GlobalFoundries.

GlobalFoundries also appointed James Norling as executive chairman and Ibrahim Ajami as vice chairman of the company's board of directors. Norling is a semiconductor industry veteran who was the former chairman and interim CEO of Chartered Semiconductor, which was acquired by GlobalFoundries early last year. Ajami is the CEO of ATIC.

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