Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Natcast Names Deirdre Hanford as Chief Executive Officer

Square with rounded edges. Fill of square looks like American flag. Coming off the sides of the square are lines with unfilled circles at end. Words underneath: CHIPS for AMERICA

Natcast, the expected operator of the CHIPS for America National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC) once established, today announced that industry veteran Deirdre Hanford will serve as the organization’s first chief executive officer. Hanford has spent her career advancing the semiconductor ecosystem. She has served as a leader at the electronic design automation firm Synopsys; as an inaugural member of the Industrial Advisory Committee created by the CHIPS Act to advise the federal government on microelectronics; and as the former chair of the American Electronics Association, a board member of the University of California Berkeley’s College of Engineering and co-chair of Purdue University’s Semiconductor Degrees Leadership Board.

The NSTC is a key component of the CHIPS for America Research and Development (R&D) Program established by the CHIPS and Science Act, which President Biden signed into law in August 2022. The center will be a public-private consortium where government, industry, customers, suppliers, educational institutions, and other partners will come together to innovate, connect, solve technical problems and help build the workforce of the future.

“The NSTC is the centerpiece of our efforts to build a strong semiconductor research and development ecosystem, which will enable the United States to be the world’s technological superpower and advance our economic security,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “Natcast is off to a strong start with their selection of Deirdre Hanford as CEO given her exceptional knowledge of the industry, her strength in implementing complex programs, and her strong commitment to serving the nation.”

“The NSTC is the cornerstone of the CHIPS R&D program and will be a hub for innovation that welcomes people from the entire semiconductor industry and associated supply chain. It will attract the best minds from organizations large and small, from companies just starting out to well-known industry leaders. Because of her broad experience, deep knowledge, and outstanding leadership, Deirdre Hanford is an excellent choice to help us launch this critical national asset,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director Laurie E. Locascio.

“I am thrilled about Natcast's announcement of Deirdre Hanford as the inaugural CEO for Natcast. Her experience, including her ability to build teams and assemble resources, will greatly benefit the NSTC Consortium, which will require working with a wide range of stakeholders and developing the right strategy to make it the premier semiconductor research organization in the world. We are excited about the caliber of leadership Natcast is bringing onboard as they build and grow the NSTC, and I look forward to working with her,” said Jay Lewis, Director of the CHIPS for America NSTC Program at the Department of Commerce.

Today’s announcement is another milestone in the implementation of the CHIPS for America vision: A strong U.S. semiconductor manufacturing sector supported by a vibrant research and development ecosystem that ensures our technology leadership and ability to compete in global markets.

Following is the press release Natcast issued at News | Natcast.


Deirdre Hanford Appointed as CEO of Natcast

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 media [at] (media[at]natcast[dot]org)

Released January 16, 2024, Updated February 1, 2024