The 2024 3D InCites Yearbook

Ajit Manocha’s 10 Guiding Principles of Leadership Through it all, Ajit swears by 10 guiding principles of leadership that his team at Philips Semiconductors presented him while they were setting new records of success during his early years at the company. Garnered from two years of monthly all-hands meetings, these were his pearls of wisdom that they took away from the talks. He was quite touched to learn that they’d been paying such close attention. The goal of these guiding principles is to succeed by making customers even more successful.

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These days, Ajit is most passionate about the PFAS issue, which involves “forever” chemicals that are slated to be phased out from use in the coming years. Finding alternatives to replace these pervasive materials is a bigger challenge than wafer processing issues he dealt with early in his career. To address this, he brought together policymakers from multiple regions to discuss industry issues with top executives at a first-of-its-kind summit held during the International Trade Partners Conference (ITPC) in October. This event demonstrated Ajit’s recognition of the value of respecting local cultures and keeping close ties with governments to minimize surprises and avoid exploitation. And while the PFAS issue represents a challenge that “no single CEO, no single company, no single country” can address, if anyone can bring them together to make it happen, Ajit can. By following his own guiding principles, Ajit’s career path has led him around the world and made him a much sought-after consultant, especially when it comes to forming collaborations. He understands the importance of building an ecosystem to support fabs. He realizes the importance of establishing a solid business culture while not disrupting a country’s culture. Could there be a more qualified individual to lead the industry to sustainably achieving its $1Trillion goal? He’s too humble to admit it. But I’d put my money on him. 5. Change people, or change people, until everyone is aligned to the common goal. Note the underlined emphasis. If people won’t change to align, then they must be replaced with those who are aligned. 6. Make yourself redundant because that helps you develop your people. It might make you feel insecure, but in the end, it’s healthier for the organization. 7. Market your people’s contributions that lead to customers’ success 8. Focus on the success, not just the good results. 9. Anticipate and manage the unknown. Anyone can manage what is known to them. Managing the unknown, such as the industry cycles, is very important for good leadership. 10. Remember, your future is in your own hands.

Highlights and Key Takeaways Ajit says that one of the highlights of his career was as CEO of GlobalFoundries, helping to establish a semiconductor ecosystem when GlobalFoundries was just a greenfield fab in Malta, NY. At the time, he was serving on President Obama’s committee for advanced manufacturing, partnership, and communities. He recalls Obama's visit, when there was no ecosystem, and GlobalFoundries was just a greenfield fab in the boondocks of Malta, New York. He was struggling to 1. Preach and practice: With the people, for the people, and by the people. Ajit says this is the most important principle and stems from what he learned early in his role as a lab supervisor. 2. Think of your job as your own business. You’ll always give more and think differently when you’re running your own business than if you’re working for someone. As president and CEO of SEMI, Ajit has extended this principle to thinking of the entire semiconductor industry as his own business, and it shows. 3. If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Ajit takes this one even further to say: 4. If your people are not part of the solution, then management is part of the problem. He advises managing people, not the issues.

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find the workforce to fill the fab, and Obama said to him, we're investing $10 billion, so fix it. GlobalFoundries hired around 350 veterans and trained them to become technicians. And that was the beginning of a program for hiring veterans. Today, at SEMI he’s charged SEMI Foundation with the task of developing a VetWorks Initiative as one lever to address the global semiconductor talent shortage.

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Ajit dressed as Sinterklaas for his Dutch coworkers at Christmas time.

3D InCites Yearbook



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