UPDATE 1-Foxconn chairman says aims to step down to pave way for younger talent

TAIPEI (Reuters) – The chairman of Taiwan’s Foxconn, assembler of Apple’s iPhones, said on Monday he plans to step down in the coming months as he wants to pave the way for younger talent to move up the ranks of the world’s largest contract manufacturer. Terry Gou, speaking on the sidelines of an event in Taipei, said that while he planned to resign as chairman, he hoped to remain involved in strategic decisions regarding the company’s business. When asked by Reuters if he would quit as chairman, Gou said he was moving in that direction, although any decision needed to be discussed with the company’s board. “I dont know where you got the information from. But I have to say, basically, I’m working toward that direction – to walk back to the second line, or retire … I have been busy for 45 years. I should hand it over to young people,” Gou said. “I will be involved in the major direction of the company, but not involved in daily operation. “I’m already 69 years old. I can pass down my 45 years of experience. That’s the goal I set up – to let young people learn sooner and take over sooner and to replace my position sooner.” Gou said his plans would be discussed with the board of Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, in the coming months. “Initially, we will tell the shareholders in the AGM in June. In the board meeting in between April-May we will give the new list of board members to the board,” Gou said. A source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that Lu Sung-Ching, the chairman of Foxconn Interconnect Technology Ltd, the electronic and optoelectronic connectors unit of Foxconn, was among the possible candidates to take over from Guo. “It doesn’t mean he will just be gone. He will remove himself to the second line and he would not be involved in the daily operations,” the source said. Foxconn’s shares rose after the news and closed 3.2 percent higher on Monday. Founded in 1974, the Foxconn group has grown to become the world’s biggest contract manufacturer with T$5.2 trillion ($168.52 billion) in annual revenue, assembling goods for Apple, SoftBank Group Corp and other global tech firms. Last month, Foxconn reported a smaller than expected fall in quarterly profit, despite warning signs from key customers including Apple that demand for tech electronics was softening. The news comes three months after Reuters reported Foxconn was reconsidering plans to make advanced liquid crystal display panels at a $10 billion Wisconsin campus.

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