Advantest said it will promote Douglas Lefever to chief executive officer as of April 1, a rare example of a foreign citizen taking the helm of a major Japanese corporation.

Lefever, a 53-year-old American, will take over the semiconductor testing company after working there since 1998, most recently as chief operating officer and chief strategy officer. Lefever was instrumental in Advantest’s acquisition of smaller rival Verigy in 2011, according to outgoing CEO Yoshiaki Yoshida. Yoshida will serve as chairman.

The world’s biggest maker of chip testing tools has benefited from growing investor focus on semiconductors that’s driven up shares at other gear makers like ASML and Tokyo Electron. Advantest’s clients such as Nvidia argue that the industry doesn’t have enough capacity to meet potential demand for artificial intelligence chips and services, fueling expectations of rising investments in production. Advantest’s stock price has climbed 44% this year already, hitting record highs.