GlobalFoundries Names New CEO

GlobalFoundries has appointed Sanjay Jha as its new CEO amid a capital spending push at the foundry vendor.

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Sanjay Jha, a former executive at Motorola Mobility and Qualcomm, has been named as the new chief executive of GlobalFoundries.

In the position, Jha replaces Ajit Manocha, who served as CEO for the silicon foundry vendor since 2011. Manocha, who was an advisor to the company’s largest shareholder prior to being appointed CEO, will return to that role and will work closely with Jha on his transition.

GlobalFoundries’ largest shareholder is Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Investment Co. (ATIC). According to a recent report from Reuters, ATIC plans to invest up to $10 billion over the next two years in GlobalFoundries’ fab in New York.The move is expected to keep GlobalFoundries in the foundry capital spending race against Samsung, TSMC and UMC. In addition, Intel is making a strong push in the foundry business.

“Ajit has played an instrumental role in making GlobalFoundries the second largest foundry in the world, delivering on customer relationships, technology leadership and operational excellence,” said Ibrahim Ajami, vice chairman of the GlobalFoundries, in a statement.

The move also comes at a time when the industry is migrating from PCs to smartphones and tablets. Coincidently, Jha’s expertise resides in the mobile space. In 1994, Jha began his career at Qualcomm as a senior engineer. Eventually, he was named chief operating officer of Qualcomm and president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, the semiconductor unit of the San Diego-based company.

Then, in 2008, he became the CEO for the Motorola Mobile Devices unit, which was eventually acquired by Google. Jha stepped down after the deal was completed in May of 2012.

In his new role at GlobalFoundries, Jha will lead the company’s build out and ramp of its Fab 8 facility in Malta, New York, supporting customers at the 14nm technology node and beyond. Last year, GlobalFoundries announced plans to build a multi-billion dollar R&D facility at its Fab 8 campus. The company’s new Technology Development Center (TDC) will help accelerate its 10nm and 7nm process development. The TDC will also house part of GlobalFoundries’ stacked-die packaging and advanced photomask efforts.

In addition, GlobalFoundries will also continue its upgrade of facilities in Singapore and Germany, which serve multiple customers across a spectrum of technologies.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead a company with such a strong track record in an industry that I know and love. I look forward to working closely with Ajit during the transition and with a very talented global team to continue to make our customers successful,” said Jha in a statement.

Other foundry vendors have also made some management changes. Late last year, Morris Chang stepped down as CEO of TSMC. He remains chairman. TSMC named Mark Liu and C. C. Wei as president and co-CEOs of TSMC. They report to Chang. The finance and legal organizations continue to report to Chang.