Foxconn considers rotating CEOs in management reshuffle

Apple supplier Foxconn is considering introducing a rotating chief executive system in a major overhaul of its management structure designed to nurture future talent, three sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.

For companies around the world, the rotating chief executive structure is uncommon, but analysts say it can promote teamwork and prevent leadership from becoming entrenched, as well as developing a next generation of talent.

One of the sources said the plan was a response to repeated calls by investors to boost corporate governance by separating the role of chief executive from the chairperson.

Young Liu has held both roles since 2019 in the 50-year-old Taiwanese company that is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer and a major iPhone assembler.

Senior Foxconn managers, whose clients also include Amazon, have discussed the rotating CEO plan for several months, the three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. They all requested anonymity due to its sensitivity.

Foxconn declined to comment.

Two of the three sources said one option being considered is to have four CEOs on a rotating basis of six months at a time. They said details had not been finalised and were subject to change.

All three sources said no final decision had been taken as the Foxconn management was deliberating on how the proposed system would work, possible candidates for rotating CEO roles, their responsibilities and how they would work with Liu.

One of the sources said the rotating CEOs would be expected to oversee Foxconn’s six core businesses, which include smartphones, personal computers and televisions but exclude the operations of major listed subsidiaries such as Foxconn Interconnect Technology, FIH Mobile and Foxconn Industrial Internet.

Another of the sources said the change could mark the end of a “one-man rule” system in Foxconn by establishing a structure in which managers take turns to oversee Foxconn’s operations that include hundreds of subsidiaries and operations in more than 20 countries.

Liu took on the chairman and CEO roles following the retirement in 2019 of billionaire founder Terry Gou, who founded the company in 1974 and had both titles during most of his tenure.

Chinese technology giant Huawei introduced a rotating CEO system in 2011, whereby three top executives take turns as acting-CEO for six-month stints.

Shares of Foxconn, formally called Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, have jumped almost 50 per cent so far this year, partly in response to an AI boom, compared with a 16 per cent rise in the main index.

Foxconn in March adopted a more bullish outlook for this year, saying it expected a significant rise in revenue driven by demand for artificial intelligence servers.

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