Foxconn founder Terry Gou makes first high profile appearance in months

FILE PHOTO: Terry Gou, Foxconn founder and presidential candidate, speaks during a press conference in Taipei, Taiwan November 23, 2023. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of major Apple supplier Foxconn, made his first high profile appearance in months on Tuesday at the firm's 50th birthday, following the ending of his bid for Taiwan's presidency late last year.

Gou, who stepped down as Foxconn chief in 2019 and resigned as a board member last September, remains the company's largest shareholder and is still reverentially referred to by company executives as "the Founder".

In late November he abandoned his latest attempt to become Taiwan's president after failing to broker a deal to unite the island's fractious opposition ahead of January elections, and largely vanished from view, though he did visit a temple last month.

Foxconn, in a statement on Wednesday, said Gou had attended a gala in Taipei to mark the company's 50th anniversary, an event also attended in person by Apple's Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, SoftBank Founder and CEO Masayoshi Son and ARM CEO Rene Haas.

"In the past 50 years, Foxconn has succeeded in changing the lives of millions of workers, thus their families and also their communities. As the Founder, I am most proud of it," the company quoted Gou as saying.

Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics maker and Apple's biggest iPhone assembler, said that Apple CEO Tim Cook, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang and Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger all sent pre-recorded tributes to the closed-door event.

Foxconn Chairman Liu Young-way said the celebration was for Gou.

"Tonight we are among friends, who are long-time customers and suppliers," the statement cited Liu as saying. "This evening is for you. It is Terry's evening."

Foxconn, formally called Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, is seeking to expand beyond assembling smartphones and other electronics to making electric vehicles.

Foxconn said some of the guests were taken to the event in the Foxconn-developed Model C car, which is now in mass production.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry)

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