OUR FOUNDER'S LEGACY
Arthur del Prado, ASMI’s founder and former CEO, played a fundamental and founding role in the semiconductor industry. He is globally viewed as a legend within our industry and his legacy extends from Silicon Valley to Tokyo. He excelled in innovation. Combined with strategic vision and a steadfast focus on the long-term, it proved the touchstone of his success and laid the foundation for the growth of ASMI and the semiconductor equipment manufacturing sector. He founded ASM in 1964, and was its Chief Executive Officer until 2008. In 1975, he established ASM Pacific Technology (ASMPT), and was Chairman until May 9, 2016. His entrepreneurship and drive led to the creation, in 1984, of ASML, a joint venture between Philips and ASMI.
Arthur del Prado was born in Batavia, Indonesia, in 1931. In 1945 his family moved to the Netherlands, where he studied Chemistry in Enschede and Economics in Amsterdam, after which he spent some time at Harvard Business School in Boston.
In 1964, he started Advanced Semiconductor Materials (ASM) in Bilthoven, the Netherlands. His charisma, energy, and optimism won him the confidence and support of many. Arthur thought only in opportunities and rarely saw obstacles. He had the ability to identify and develop promising technologies at an early stage. And his vision extended far beyond the Netherlands.
In 1971 ASMI launched production of the first vapor deposition furnaces. The company grew from sales to innovation, developing and manufacturing its own technologies. In 1974 del Prado acquired a controlling stake in Fico Toolings, later ASM Fico,
a manufacturer of materials for use in the semiconductor packaging industry. From the 1960s, this part of the industry was mostly located in Southeast Asia. Seeing the trend, in 1975 del Prado opened ASM Asia in Hong Kong. In 1988 these activities would be publicly listed as ASM Pacific Technology, which would grow to become the world’s largest supplier of semiconductor assembly and packaging technologies.
In 1976 del Prado established ASM America, the company's first US operation, in Phoenix, Arizona, nearby Motorola Semiconductors, then the largest semiconductor manufacturer. ASM America was the company through which del Prado brought the plasma enhanced CVD process to the market, marking the breakthrough of ASMI as an original equipment supplier.
In 1982 ASMI became the first Dutch company to establish a wholly-owned subsidiary in Japan.
In 1984 ASMI launched a joint venture with Philips to develop and market Philips’ lithography technology. The company was called ASM Lithography, now known as ASML. By the mid-eighties, ASMI’s product portfolio included nearly all major semiconductor production technologies: deposition furnaces, lithography, ion implantation, die and wire bonders, and various packaging technologies.
In 1999 ASMI acquired Finnish company Microchemistry and in 2004 ASMI acquired the Korean company Genitech, cementing its position as a pioneer in atomic layer deposition (ALD).
In 2008 Arthur was awarded the prestigious 'Legend of the Industry' award at Semicon West, which is presented annually to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the semiconductor industry over an extended period of time. That same year, Arthur retired as CEO, and shareholders approved the appointment of his eldest son, Chuck, as his successor.
Arthur remained Chairman of ASMPT until his retirement in May 2016.
Arthur died peacefully at his home on September 9, 2016. He is rightfully recognized as the father of the European semiconductor industry. Indeed it is impossible to imagine today’s industry without him. From its onset, more than five decades ago, to the present day, his imprint and influence on the industry has been clear and unmistakable.