This article was last updated on December 1, 2023
A leadership change will take place at chip machine maker ASML in April next year. After more than ten years, during which the company grew very quickly, Peter Wennink is stepping down as chairman. The Frenchman Christophe Fouquet will succeed him.
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This gives the company, which plays an essential role in the chip sector worldwide, a new face to the outside world. The 48-year-old Fouquet has been working at the Veldhoven company for fifteen years. Over the last five years, he has been closely involved with the most important machine that ASML currently supplies, the EUV (extreme ultraviolet).
ASML’s message today is very clear: a new face, but no new direction.
Fouquet’s Background and Transition Plan
Speaking to journalists, Wennink described his successor as someone with “a deep understanding of ASML’s technology and the chip industry ecosystem”. He emphasized that Fouquet has “the right leadership qualities” and is a cultural fit for the company.
While Wennink has a financial background, Fouquet is much more technical. Before he started working at ASML, Wennink worked for accountant Deloitte. He got to know the chip machine maker as a customer and took the company public. Afterwards, he was chief financial officer at ASML.
The coming months will be a transition period. Wennink will remain in office until April 24, 2024, after which Fouquet will take over. Martin van den Brink, who has been leading the technology side of ASML for decades, will also leave. He is attributed a crucial role in the way in which ASML has developed over the decades. He will not be replaced as chief technology officer. Fouquet takes on that role.
Relating to Politics
Although ASML is a highly technical company, the chairman will also have to relate to national and international politics. Especially because the US wants to impose more and more restrictions on the export of ASML’s machines.
In that context, NOS asked Fouquet what his message is to The Hague and Washington. He responded that the company’s top management has “built strong relationships with the people in The Hague and looks forward to expanding them further.”
Fouquet also emphasized that it is important to work together to “face the challenges we face.” He said nothing about Washington, where the pressure to restrict machine exports mainly comes from. Fouquet sees himself as a local and points out that he has a Dutch wife and Dutch children. “That helps,” said Fouquet.
When asked whether, as CEO, he would still want to export machines that are currently restricted to China, he answered in line with what the company has previously said about this. “We want to serve everyone, but within the limits of what is allowed. That has been the case for years and will remain the case in the future. It is not up to us to determine what is right or not.”