Jean-Claude Asscher, chairman of the board of directors since 1972 and the founder of Tekelec, has decided to retire.

Asscher will step down as of Dec. 31, the telecommunications equipment and software company said Tuesday.

Mark Floyd, a Tekelec board member since October of 2004, will replace Asscher as chairman. Floyd is chief executive officer of Entrisphere, a telecommunications gear maker based in California.

"We are very much indebted to Mr. Asscher for his decades of service, leadership and contributions to Tekelec,” said Frank Plastina, Tekelec’s CEO. “His strong leadership and vision have guided the company through the evolution of the telecom equipment industry, its significant growth and expansion since he founded the company in 1972 and the transformation of the company from a diagnostics equipment company in the 1980’s into the successful telecom network applications company that it is today.”