Deirdre Hanford Appointed as CEO of Natcast

January 16, 2024

CHIPS National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC) takes next important step in its implementation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 16, 2024) – Natcast today announced the appointment of Deirdre Hanford as its founding Chief Executive Officer. Natcast is a new, purpose-built independent non-profit entity created to become the operator of the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC) consortium, once established.  The selection of Hanford will enable Natcast to begin operations in earnest in 2024. In addition to CEO, Hanford was also appointed as a trustee of Natcast. More information on the announcement from Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) can be found here. Hanford’s bio can be found here and a list of endorsements from leaders in the semiconductor ecosystem can be found here.

Deirdre Hanford has been a key executive at Synopsys for 36 years, scaling with the company from the time when it was a disruptive start-up to its position today as a technology and market leader in electronic design automation and semiconductor design IP. She has held a variety of roles and has been primarily focused on enabling the innovation of the semiconductor design community and ecosystem. Well known within the industry, Hanford has served on many industry advisory boards, including being a leader in the Department of Commerce’s Industrial Advisory Committee (IAC) formed through the CHIPS Act. With a B.S. in engineering from Brown University and an M.S. in electrical engineering from University of California Berkeley, Hanford brings technical depth alongside significant global management, executive and leadership experience.

“The Natcast board of trustees is pleased to make this exciting announcement,” said Jim Plummer, Natcast board chair and the John M. Fluke Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. “Deirdre has an ideal collection of experiences, with substantial depth in the semiconductor industry, proven management and leadership skills with a bias towards action, strong relationships throughout industry and government, and a widely admired track record of success. We are thrilled that we will be able to move quickly with Deirdre in the lead.”

“Semiconductors are at the heart of the economy, impacting every aspect of our lives,” said Deirdre Hanford. “My amazing years at Synopsys have given me a broad and deep view of the semiconductor landscape. I am honored and humbled to take on the role of Natcast CEO. I look forward to fulfilling the CHIPS NSTC mission of fostering semiconductor innovation and growing a talented workforce.”

“As one of the leaders of the Industrial Advisory Committee (IAC) established by the CHIPS Act, Hanford is particularly familiar with the goals of the program. Deirdre is an inspired selection by the Natcast trustees,” said Mike Splinter, former CEO of Applied Materials and chair of the IAC. “In her leadership role on the IAC, Deirdre has demonstrated her ability to convene and align senior semiconductor stakeholders on the strategic implementation of the CHIPS R&D programs. She has an extensive understanding of the CHIPS Act and the needs of the nation. I am optimistic that her ability to engage, lead, listen, and align individuals from throughout the ecosystem will serve our country well as we establish the NSTC.”

Aart de Geus, Executive Chair of Synopsys, Inc. said: “After three and a half decades at Synopsys, Deirdre is taking on a role that is important for both the semiconductor industry and the nation. Speaking for both Sassine Ghazi, our new CEO, and myself, we are very supportive and proud of Deirdre in her new position as CEO of Natcast. We have great expectations for Deirdre’s positive and practical impact on driving semiconductor innovation and workforce development in the implementation of CHIPS’ NSTC.”

Hanford will start her new position officially on February 1, 2024, and will focus initially on building an executive team, finalizing the relationship between Natcast and the Department of Commerce, and prioritizing early program offerings.

More on Natcast can be found at, where interested parties also can sign up for a newsletter to be informed as to progress of Natcast and the NSTC, including any announcements on requests for information, requests for proposals and job postings. For more information on the CHIPS program, see Interested media should reach out to [email protected].