Foxconn founder and chairman Terry Gou will step down in the coming months, 45 years after founding the company that made him Taiwan’s richest man. Speaking to Reuters, Gou says he plans to step away from daily operations at the company, but he will still be involved in its major decisions.
Gou, who owns 9.4 percent of Foxconn, said that he will step down in the coming months pending discussions with the company’s board. He added that an announcement will be made to shareholders at the company’s AGM in June. He did not provide any firm details on who will succeed him. Reuters reports that the current head of Foxconn Interconnect Technology Ltd, Lu Sung-Ching, is among the potential candidates.
Gau said he is making the decision in order for the next generation to be able to learn from him. “I’m already 69 years old. I can pass down my 45 years of experience.” Gou said, “That’s the goal I set up - to let young people learn sooner and take over sooner and to replace my position sooner.”
“I will be involved in the major direction of the company, but not involved in daily operations,” he said.
His resignation comes at a critical time for Foxconn, which is currently trying to decrease its reliance on Apple for its revenue. Foxconn currently manufactures iPhones, and analysts estimate that Apple could provide as much as half of Foxconn’s revenue. Apple warned in January that iPhone demand is slowing amid a broader plateau in smartphone sales.
Foxconn’s highly publicized manufacturing hub in Wisconsin also appears to be experiencing difficulties. The company was offered a $4.5 billion subsidy package to locate an LCD display factory in the state, a development which President Trump called the “eighth wonder of the world.” Almost a year later, Foxconn’s plans now seem to be in continual flux, and many of its buildings are still empty.
Foxconn’s shares closed 3.2 percent higher on Monday after the news broke.