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Applied's Patent King Departs

The head of the company's Asian operations will become the CEO of a Shanghai chip foundry.

The head of

Applied Materials'

(AMAT) - Get Applied Materials, Inc. Report

Asian operations is resigning to become the chief executive of a Shanghai-based semiconductor foundry.

David N. K. Wang, an Applied Materials employee since 1980 and responsible for several of the company's most successful product lines, announced his resignation Wednesday, effective immediately. He will start as the top executive of

Hua Hong Group

in Shanghai on Sept. 2.

"This is difficult after 25 years at one company," Wang said in an interview with

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. Applied Materials is in "really good shape, in excellent condition, and I feel at this moment that

my departure will not generate any impact."

Nonetheless, Wang has been one of the company's most decorated employees. He holds more than 100 patents and was responsible for Applied's chemical vapor deposition and etch groups.

He was principal developer of the Precision 5000 CVD and etch system, which Applied calls the semiconductor equipment industry's most successful tool.

In addition, Wang established the company's global services group, as well as Applied's subsidiaries in Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and China.

His departure comes slightly more than a year after Wang was appointed to his position as president of Applied Materials Asia.

Immediately prior to that, Wang was building up the company's services group, which has become a significant focal point for the company.

Shares of Applied closed the regular session up 22 cents to $18.32.