Co-founder to step down from ARM

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Sir Robin Saxby, chairman of ARM, will step down from the £1.6bn group he co-founded 15 years ago and that now provides chips for 90 per cent of the world’s mobile phone handsets.

ARM broke the news to an analysts’ presentation along with the announcement that its trading remained on track. Warren East, chief executive, said the business of microchips had a “25-year-plus life cycle” and ARM was expanding into new areas and designing more chips for white goods.

“Although people can be very excited about our business today, actually we’ve barely even started,” he said.

Mr East paid tribute to Sir Robin, 59, saying “he only has two speeds – stop and flat out”. Sir Robin will become chairman emeritus but will keep a close working relationship with the company of which he is the largest internal shareholder. He will be replaced in October by Doug Dunn, a non-executive director and
former chief executive of ASM Lithography Holding, which like ARM supplies big chipmakers, such as Intel.

Mr Dunn’s experience of the same customer base, and an additional understanding gathered at his other non-executive directorships with ST Microelectronics and LG Philips, would prove very useful at ARM, Mr East said. Mr Dunn was also stepping up to chair the company for which he was the first commercial customer.

ARM, which designs chips that go in the popular iPod music player, last month recorded a 17.5 per cent rise in sales to £64.6m. It said revenue should rise at twice the rate of the industry, where growth is expected to be in the high single digits.

About 98 per cent of all mobile phones use at least one ARM-designed core on their motherboards, according to Linley Group, the independent analysts. About 63 per cent of ARM’s shipments go to the wireless industry and companies, such as Nokia.

But Mr East is expecting more demand for chips for consumer products, such as iPods, and white goods.

He predicted the energy-saving potential of the next generation of chips would help fuel this demand against a backdrop of high electricity prices.

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