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Lam Research's Chief Executive Resigns Over Alleged Misconduct

Dec. 6, 2018
Lam Research's Chief Executive Resigns Over Alleged Misconduct

Lam Research said on Wednesday that chief executive officer Martin Anstice had resigned amid an ongoing investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct. He became the latest chief executive of a major semiconductor company following Texas Instruments and Intel to step down from his company this year.

The company’s board said that it would replace Anstice with chief operating officer Timothy Archer, who had already been designated to succeed him. Lam Research, which was founded in 1980, is one of the largest vendors of semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Last year, the company reported $11.1 billion in revenue, an annual increase of more than 38 percent, while net income was around $2.4 billion.

“Lam Research takes all allegations of misconduct seriously,” Abhi Talwalkar, a member of the Silicon Valley company’s board of directors, said in a statement. “An integral part of the culture of Lam Research is our commitment to provide a safe and positive work environment where each of our employees has the opportunity to thrive. The company has policies in place to support and enforce this commitment.”

The semiconductor industry’s scandals started with one of the largest companies in Silicon Valley. Intel’s chief executive Brian Krzanich resigned in June after the Santa Clara, California-based company uncovered that he had a consensual relationship with another employee in violation of Intel policies. Krzanich also resigned from the board of directors, which replaced him with chief financial officer Robert Swan.

Brian Crutcher stepped down from Texas Instruments in July for violating the company’s code of conduct. The Dallas, Texas-based company declined to comment on what conduct specifically led to his abrupt departure. He was replaced by former chief executive Richard Templeton, who had handed Crutcher the top job in June. Rambus ousted its chief executive officer under similar—and largely unexplained—circumstances.

The allegations arose in the semiconductor industry at the same time a series of sexual harassment scandals fueled by the #MeToo movement were stirring up the technology, entertainment and media industries. Lam Research would not elaborate on Anstice’s alleged misbehavior—except that it was not financial misconduct. The company said it would not pay him severance. Last year, his compensation was valued at $12.8 million.

Lam Research, which has a market capitalization of $23.8 billion, has struggled to allay mounting concerns about a slowdown in the chip business. Companies like Lam Research and Applied Materials are among the first to start feeling the pain when global demand for electronic devices declines. Last month, the company said that fourth quarter sales will largely be the same as the last year’s fourth quarter.

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