The Vitality of Change: Congratulations to Sassine Ghazi!

Dr. Aart de Geus

Aug 16, 2023 / 3 min read

You may have heard today’s Synopsys announcement that on January 1, 2024, Sassine Ghazi will become Synopsys' next CEO and I will transition to the role of executive chair. Corporate announcements sometimes feel dry and matter of fact, so this is an opportunity for me to share some color and my great enthusiasm for the journey ahead.

To be clear from the start,

I'm just thrilled with Sassine’s promotion to CEO - he has my full support!

I know Sassine really well. He has been at Synopsys for 25 years. He started as an application engineer and then grew into a sales role. Sassine and I first worked closely together 17 years ago, when we established a strategic relationship with a high-impact customer. What struck me immediately was his distinctive positive, can-do attitude and boundless energy.

You see, at that time, Synopsys had not yet begun to challenge ourselves and each other internally with the leadership phrase of, ‘Yes, if…’ This phrase encourages us to intentionally approach situations with a positive mindset, ‘Yes’, we will find a solution. While acknowledging through ‘if’ that the reality, more often than not, is extremely complex. When using ‘Yes, if…’ in a team, the collective effort invariably finds the finish line while also generating confidence and momentum for the team. Introduced in 2019, this mindset shift has had enormous impact on Synopsys, which has been literally visible in our results ever since!

Well, I saw a fantastic ‘Yes, if…’ mindset in Sassine, long before we verbalized it to the company! He never shied away from the many difficult ‘ifs’ to find a path to the promise of ‘Yes,’ be it in very challenging business or technical situations.

Over the years, Sassine professionally progressed well, first in sales, then in general management, where he invariably attracted or promoted outstanding talent. Sassine is a strong leader and manager. He has innate charisma, and his leadership talent centers around an instinctive sense of priorities and strong bias for action which I greatly admire!

From general manager, he became COO and subsequently president as well. In the last three years, we worked closely together to profoundly evolve and scale the company. This all happened, while around us, the shadows of Covid, supply chain shortages, global stress between world leaders, and unprecedented climate impact literally colored the sky dark red. But it was also a time where new architectures and multi-die constructs opened up another 1,000x silicon exponential already in demand by awesome advances in AI, electrification, and autonomous driving needs, and all further impacting our field from every vertical market entering the era of ‘Smart Everything’!

Synopsys evolved, scaled, and is now ready for this with a great deal of momentum! I can’t think of a better CEO than Sassine to keep us moving forward at high speed and write the next chapter of our company! 

You may be wondering, “What’s next for you, Aart?” 

My first task is completely clear: support Sassine, support Sassine, support Sassine! After that, I intend to ‘re-invent’ myself for Synopsys. It’s both exciting and I have some trepidation at the same time!

Let me offer you a glimpse into what I am thinking… Caution! Work in progress; but here we go:

The role of the CEO is fairly clear: be on top of ‘WHAT WE DO’ and deliver on the company’s ambition. That’s Sassine! In contrast, going forward, my deep aspiration goes to the ‘WHO WE ARE’: the people, the culture, the relationships inside and outside; in one word: our vitality.

Actually, since ‘Yes, if…’ became our Synopsys mantra, ‘vitality’ has become my favorite word for what we aspire to be!

High vitality -

You feel it, when you have it!

You feel it, when you meet it!

You feel it, when you share it! 

The aspiration of vitality is both internal with our teams at Synopsys, and external with our brand, our industry, and as a positive force in the world. 

What is so cool is that the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ of a company multiply each other. That’s why Sassine and I will do our utmost to work seamlessly for the best of Synopsys, for our employees, our customers, our eco-system partners, our shareholders, and the semiconductor industry!

In the early days of Synopsys, when the impact of our first product, synthesis, was exploding, one of our teammates loved to cite a Walt Kelly line from the Pogo comic strip, “We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunities!”

I feel exactly the same today. Let’s make it happen again!

Congratulations, Sassine!


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