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26 May, 2006 - 17:22 By Staff Reporter

Saxby gives up ARM chair

Sir Robin Saxby, the man who led superchip design company ARM from the back of a barn to the top of the world, is retiring from the board from October 1 when he takes up the role of president of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET).

During his year as President of the IET, Sir Robin will remain associated with ARM as chairman emeritus.

As part of a planned transition, Sir Robin will be succeeded as chairman by Doug Dunn, who joined the ARM board in December 1998 as an independent non-executive director.

He was previously president and CEO of ASM Lithography until his retirement in December 2004. He is a non-executive director of ST Microelectronics N.V., Soitec S.A. and LG. Philips LCD Co. Ltd.

The story of ARM’s humble beginnings and its rise out of the Acorn stable, is a sobering one for any young technology business tilting at world stardom on a shoestring.

After leaving Henderson, Robin was MD of ES2 and its US subsidiary and then, in 1990, he received a call from Dr Peter Bassett who was searching for someone to head up a new business about to be launched as a joint venture by Apple, Acorn and VLSI.

"When it came to discussing the business plan, we didn’t have very much money to fund the venture," he told me. "Apple put up £1.1m, VLSI £250K and Acorn supplied the technology and 12 founding engineers. We had no patents, not a lot of money and no industrial customers but we did have a barn, some energy, some belief and some relevant experience."

When Business Weekly put ARM on the business radar in 1996 through its East of England Business Awards, investors clamoured for stock and forced Acorn to spew out the company as an individual entity.

In the early years of ARM, Robin was VP of pretty much everything from the finance to the business building roles. ARM’s position at the pinnacle of its field is tribute to the energy and insight he has brought to a wonderful business over 15 hectic years.

Sir Robin said this week: "Throughout my life I have been passionate about the importance of creating value for stakeholders from technology and I am looking forward to continuing my relationship with ARM as chairman emeritus during my year as president of the IET.

"ARM and the IET has maintained close links over the years, and I am delighted to be able to continue to act as an ambassador for ARM globally and hope to encourage young people to take up a role in engineering, science and technology, as well as broadening my own knowledge of other engineering disciplines"


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