SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- In a major shakeup within its management team, Applied Materials Inc. today (April 30) named Michael R. Splinter, a long-time executive from Intel Corp., as its new president and CEO.
As CEO, Splinter succeeds James Morgan, who will remain chairman for the chip-equipment giant. And as president, he replaces Dan Maydan, who will become president emeritus and remain a member of the board.
The sudden changes follow a tumultuous time for Applied, based in Santa Clara. The world's largest chip-equipment maker has announced several layoffs and experienced lackluster financial results amid the current and severe IC downturn.
The personal moves surprised some analysts. During his 27-year career at Applied, Morgan helped transform a nearly bankrupt equipment supplier into a leader in the chip-equipment market. But perhaps the biggest surprise in the shakeup was Maydan, considered the company's technology guru. A 23-year employee of Applied, Maydan became president in 1994.
"As we considered things during the planning process, it was clear that we wanted to strengthen our capabilities," Morgan said. Applied wanted to "build up the management team before business picks up," he explained during a conference call with analysts Wednesday afternoon.
Morgan will remain Applied's visionary, while Splinter will take on the day-to-day responsibilities for the company, observed Steven Pelayo, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, in San Francisco. "I look at the changes as a net positive," Pelayo said.
"It will also open up the door for Applied at Intel," he said.Applied has sold equipment into Intel for years, but the chip-equipment giant hopes to bolster its ties within Intel--and other accounts, Pelayo told SBN.
Before joining Applied Materials, Splinter worked for nearly 20 years at Intel, where most recently, he was executive vice president and director of the Sales and Marketing Group. He previously held various executive positions at Intel, including executive vice president and general manager of the Technology and Manufacturing Group.
"Mike's unique combination of customer experience, extensive knowledge of advanced semiconductor manufacturing and collaborative leadership of large, complex organizations make him an outstanding choice for Applied Materials as we strengthen our position as a great global competitor," Morgan said in a statement.
"Mike adds important new dimensions to Applied Materials' understanding of the changing needs of our customers and our customers' customers. He will complement and broaden Applied Materials' management capabilities and enable us to extend our leadership," Morgan added.
In a related move, Applied announced that Sasson (Sass) Somekh,
executive vice president and chairman of the Global Executive
Committee, has been appointed to serve on the company's board.
Meanwhile, Intel announced that Jason Chun Shen Chen has been named vice president and co-director of its Sales and Marketing Group, responsible for all Intel sales operations worldwide.
Chen, who replaces Splinter, most recently served as vice president, Sales and Marketing Group, and co-general manager, Asia-Pacific Operations.