Wolfson chief executive to step down

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David Milne is to step down as chief executive of Wolfson Microelectronics, the specialist chipmaker he founded 22 years ago. He will be replaced by Dave Shrigley, a former Intel executive.

Mr Milne, 64, who steered the Edinburgh-based company through its listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2003, will retire from his role as chief executive at the end of February but remain on Wolfson’s board as a non-executive director. He owns just under 3 per cent of the company.

Wolfson has faced a turbulent fourth quarter, issuing a profits warning last month that it blamed on slowing demand for MP3 players, such as Apple’s iPod, and multimedia phones that use its chips.

It said in October that it expected full-year revenues of $204m-$209m, compared with market forecasts of about $223m. Earlier this month Wolfson reassured investors on the new forecasts after a warning from rival CSR.

Nick Hyslop, analyst at Oriel Securities, said that while the retirement of Mr Milne was “not unexpected,” the “very unexpected profit warning makes this a far from ideal time for a change of leader.”

Wolfson said that it had been looking for a successor to replace Mr Milne for several months and that he had been planning to retire at 65.

Dave Shrigley, 58, will succeed Mr Milne from March 1, Wolfson said. Mr Shrigley served a number of senior executive positions during his 18 years at Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, and helped to grow the chipmaker’s revenues in Asia - the region where Wolfson generates the bulk of its revenue. He joined Bay Networks in 1996, working there until just after it was acquired by Nortel in 1998, and is currently a non-executive director at Rambus, the Nasdaq-listed memory chip designer.

John Carey, Wolfson chairman, said: “He brings to Wolfson all-round expertise in the semiconductor industry as well as the experience of succeeding in large as well as smaller companies.”

Wolfson shares were flat at 291½p in early London trading.

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