Sassine Ghazi to become CEO of chip design software firm Synopsys

Sassine Ghazi to become CEO of chip design software firm Synopsys

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Semiconductor design software firm Synopsys Inc. said today that it’s hiring 25-year industry veteran Sassine Ghazi as its new chief executive officer. The news came as the company delivered better than expected fourth quarter results on the back of growing demand for custom chip designs for artificial intelligence applications.

Synopsys said Ghazi (pictured, right), who currently serves as its president and chief operating officer, will succeed its outgoing CEO Aart de Geus (left) in January 2024. De Geus, who is the company’s co-founder, will move upstairs to become its executive chairman.

Ghazi looks to be extremely well qualified to replace De Geus, possessing decades of experience in the chip design business and expertise in areas such as applications engineering, customer support, sales and business management, Synopsys said.

Synopsys is known for selling software design tools used by computer chipmakers such as Intel Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. Its software helps to automate the semiconductor design process. Chip design involves many stages, including design, verification, signoff, physical verification and more, and Synopsys’ software can aid in each of these steps. Virtually every computer chip in the world has been designed using software from Synopsys or its rival Cadence Design Systems Inc.

“I am ecstatic about Sassine’s transition into the CEO role,” De Geus said in a statement. “With 25 years of his career at Synopsys, Sassine embodies our values and culture, has driven very innovative technology, has strong operational experience in running our company, and has built deep, trusting relationships with our customers and partners.”

Ghazi promised that he would help “propel Synopsys to even greater heights of success” during his tenure. The executive rose to become the company’s second-most senior executive in August 2020 when he was appointed as its COO, before becoming president a year later when former co-CEO Chi-Foon Chan stepped down from that role.

“Following a systematic, multi-year succession planning process and speaking for the entire board, we are delighted to promote Sassine to become our next president and CEO and thank Aart for the exemplary transition,” Roy Vallee, lead independent director of Synopsys’ board, said in a statement.

Ghazi added that he is both honored and grateful for being chosen by the board as Synopsys’ next leader. “As I step into the role of CEO, I am fueled by an unwavering determination to build upon our strong foundation, drive innovation, and propel Synopsys to even greater heights of success,” he said.

Investors will most likely be reassured that Synopsys is in good hands, as Ghazi has played a key role in the company’s recent success, which has seen it accelerate growth and profitability over the past year.

There are signs that suggest Synopsys will continue to grow. On Monday, the company announced it had struck a new deal with Intel to help aid the chipmaker’s nascent contract manufacturing business. Intel is pushing to become a viable alternative to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in the chip foundry business, where it will manufacture silicon for other chipmakers. As part of Monday’s deal, Synopsys will help to develop intellectual property required for Intel’s advanced manufacturing process.

“The moment you’re in a foundry business, you really need an IP portfolio to enable your customers to come into,” Ghazi told Reuters when that deal was announced.

In its third quarter financial report, Synopsys reported net income of $333 million, rising from $219.6 million a year earlier. Earnings before certain costs such as stock compensation came to $2.88 per share, while revenue rose 19% to $1.49 billion. Wall Street had been looking for earnings of just $2.74 per share on sales of $1.48 billion.

For the fourth quarter, Synopsys is forecasting earnings of between $3.01 and $3.06 per share, above Wall Street’s forecast of $2.91 per share. In terms of revenue, it’s expecting $1.57 billion to $1.6 billion, above the analyst consensus estimate of $1.57 billion.

Revenue from Synopsys’ largest business segment, Design Automation, rose 23% to $1 billion in the quarter. Shares of Synopsys rose more than 2% in extended trading in the wake of today’s announcements.

Photo: Synopsys

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