Jen Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
|Christopher Murdoch, a retired Navy captain and the first Wisconsin resident hired by Foxconn Technology Group, has left the company. (Photo: Bryce Richter, University of Wisconsin-Madison)|
Christopher “Tank” Murdoch, the first Wisconsin resident hired by Foxconn Technology Group and an honored figure at last year’s groundbreaking for the firm’s planned flat-screen factory, has left the company.
In a brief interview, Murdoch said he left voluntarily several weeks ago because of “a number of factors,” which he declined to specify. He said he had taken a position outside Wisconsin but would not disclose his employer.
Foxconn said its policy is not to comment “on its internal human resources decision making.”
A retired Navy captain, Murdoch was hired by Foxconn as a senior adviser about two years ago. He had previously run the Naval ROTC program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Foxconn has positioned itself as veteran-friendly, saying last year that it was committed to hiring 3,000 veterans.
Murdoch, who flew combat missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Somalia, was one of five people wielding golden shovels at Foxconn’s groundbreaking ceremony in Mount Pleasant. The other four: President Donald Trump, then-Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, then-Gov. Scott Walker and then-House Speaker Paul Ryan.
With Murdoch’s departure, the lone shovel-handler still in his position is Trump.
Also recently departed from Foxconn is Bill Mitchell, a vice president who, like Murdoch, occasionally spoke publicly on the company’s behalf. Last February, a time when Foxconn’s Wisconsin plans were in flux, Mitchell told reporters after addressing a manufacturing conference that “we’re flying the airplane and we’re designing and building it as we go because the demands are changing constantly.”
Foxconn’s stated plans to create 13,000 Wisconsin jobs to support a manufacturing and research complex in Racine County have been hailed by advocates as transformational and questioned by critics who doubt the firm will follow through.