CEO Perspective – Challenges and Opportunities for Global Semiconductor Businesses

Babak Taheri, Silvaco CEO gave a CEO Perspective in the latest ESD Alliance Summer 2020 Newsletter. Here is an excerpt:

In 1966 Robert F. Kennedy delivered a speech that mentioned a curse, “May you live in interesting times.” Like it or not, we live in an interesting time — a time of danger and uncertainty, but also a time of great possibilities.

Social and business challenges include the COVID-19 pandemic, which is in its sixth month, high unemployment from sheltering in place, trade friction between the USA and China, and others. The impact to the economy and peoples’ lives is sobering. According to the June 2020 World Bank forecast, the global economy will shrink by 5.2% this year. The U.S. economy is forecast to contract 6.1%, reflecting the disruptions associated with pandemic-control measures. Europe’s output is expected to shrink 9.1% in 2020 as widespread outbreaks take a heavy toll on activity. Japan’s economy is anticipated to shrink 6.1% as preventive measures have slowed economic activity.

Looking ahead, every economist is optimistic that 2021 will see an upswing in economic activity. The World Bank sees the recovery in the range of 4%. However, the losses of the 2020 contraction are “like a meteor hitting the earth. It is a massive number,” according to Ken Rogoff, professor of economics at Harvard and former chief economist at the IMF. In response, governments are financing businesses to alleviate immediate issues, but will have to deal with an increased national debt in the long term.

How has COVID-19 affected businesses? We now have a new virtual way of doing business. This means more usage of cloud infrastructure and more network bandwidth needed to support meetings and conferences for health care, real estate, and many other industries including ours.

To read the rest of this CEO Perspective, go to the ESD Alliance Summer 2020 Newsletter on the ESD-Alliance website.