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U.S. advisor named TSMC new independent board director candidate

04/13/2024 04:46 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, April 13 (CNA) Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chipmaker, has named Ursula M. Burns, vice chair of the Advisory Council on Supply Chain Competitiveness under the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), one of its new independent board director candidates.

In a statement, TSMC said on Friday that Burns is one of three new directors named by the chipmaker along with Lynn L. Elsenhans and Lin Chuan (林全).

Sources close to the the company told CNA that the presence of Burns, a ranking advisor to the U.S. government, is expected to help TSMC better understand U.S. policy at a time of escalating trade tensions between Washington and Beijing and amid the U.S. administration's urging of semiconductor firms to roll out chips on U.S. soil.

On April 8, TSMC announced it will build a third wafer fab in the U.S. state of Arizona by 2030, expecting its total investment in the United States to hit US$65 billion. Currently, the chipmaker is building two fabs in Arizona.

The company will receive up to US$6.6 billion in U.S. government grants and up to US$5 billion in loans to support advanced semiconductor production in the U.S.

According to TSMC, Burns is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, a member of the U.S. American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering in London.

Burns is currently a director of Uber Technologies, the non-executive chair of Teneo Holdings LLC, an independent non-executive director of IHS Holding, and a director of Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc., TSMC said, adding she is also a founding partner of Integrum Holdings.

TSMC said Elsenhans currently serves as an independent director and the chair of the Governance & Corporate Responsibility Committee at Baker Hughes Co., an independent non-executive director, chair of the Audit Committee of Saudi Arabian Oil Co., and an independent director of Peter Kiewit and Sons Inc.

For his part, Lin, a former Taiwan Premier in Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) administration, had served as chairman of TSMC's subsidiary of Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp. (VIS), invited by the chipmaker's founder Morris Chang (張忠謀), according to TSMC.

In addition to the new three independent director candidates, TSMC renamed CEO and vice chairman C.C. Wei (魏哲家), Vice Chairman of VIS F.C. Tseng (曾繁城), and Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫), representative of the Cabinet's National Development Fund, as board directors. The fund is the largest single shareholder of TSMC.

Non-executive director of Darktrace Plc. Peter Leahy Bonfield, Chair of the DOC's Industrial Advisory Committee and National Institute of Standards and Technology Michael R. Splinter, independent director at NXP Semiconductors N.V Moshe N. Gavrielov, and President Emeritus of MIT L. Rafael Reif were renamed independent directors, according to TSMC.

"TSMC's board is comprised of a diverse group of professionals from different backgrounds in industry, academia and law. These professionals include citizens from Taiwan, Europe and the U.S. with world-class business operating experience," TSMC Chairman Mark Liu (劉德音) said in the statement.

Liu has announced he will step down as TSMC's chairman in June and recommend Wei to succeed him.

In addition to Liu, former TSMC Senior Vice President Chen Kok-Choo (陳國慈) and Delta Electronics Inc. Chairman Yancey Hai (海英俊) have also decided to retire from the chipmaker's board, according to the company.

"As chairman, I have been very fortunate to have had the collective support of a well-functioning board to ensure TSMC remains on the right track. I extend my deepest appreciation to all the board directors for their dedication. I am also confident that TSMC will continue to excel with the incoming board," Liu said.

An annual general meeting is scheduled for June 4 to vote for the nominated board members.

(By Chang Chien-chung and Frances Huang)

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