By Rosalba O'Brien and Paul Sandle
LONDON, March 19 Warren East, who led ARM
Holdings from start-up to near monopoly designer of
smartphone chips, with its processors at the heart of Apple's
iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy, is to step down as chief executive
after 12 years.
Group president Simon Segars will replace 51-year-old East
from July, the British company said on Tuesday.
Since East, an engineer, joined in 1994, ARM has evolved
from one processor product line to be the dominant player in
mobile computing, providing microprocessors that run nearly all
the world's smartphones, and around a third of all consumer
"After you've been doing it for 12 years you do get a bit
tired (...) and think 'Maybe that's a bit of a brake on the
business and somebody else should have a go'," he told Reuters.
ARM licenses its processor designs to chipmakers including
Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm and Texas
Instruments. Its low-power processors have enabled it to
dominate mobile computing, leaving rival Intel far
behind in the sector.
In Cambridge, ARM has been at the heart of the so-called
'Silicon Fen', a cluster of high-tech firms at the southern tip
of the English Fenland, about an hour's drive north of London.
Founded in 1990, ARM now employs 2,300 people, with 2013
revenues forecast at around $1.03 billion.
"We've built a global company based here in the UK, proving
it can be done in technology, and I intend to do a bit more of
that," said East, who eschews the casual clothes and colourful
style of California's Silicon Valley in favour of smart suits
and a sober manner.
East, whose total pay including share awards and long-term
incentives was 7.6 million pounds in 2012, said it was too early
to talk about his next move, but that another executive role was
unlikely in the short term.
A pound invested in the company's shares 10 years ago would
be worth about 18 pounds now, and the company itself is valued
at nearly 13 billion pounds ($19 billion).
Segars, who is 45, has been with ARM for 22 years next week,
leading the development of many of its first processors and
working in engineering, sales and business development.
He said he did not expect to make any significant changes to
"The strategy that we have now I've been part of building
and believe in very strongly," he said.
He said ARM would keep growing in mobile computing and
beyond, such as in providing technology to connect billions of
devices ranging from appliances to vehicles, a concept known as
the 'Internet of Things'.
"We see big opportunities in servers - where we are just
really getting started - and likewise in wireless
infrastructure, which is going to go through quite radical
changes to keep up with all the data that smartphones and the
Internet of Things are going to produce and consume," he said.
Shares in the company were down 2.2 percent at 900 pence by
1416 GMT, but analysts were comfortable with Segars as East's
"We do not believe that the choice of Mr Segars or the
announcement is a significant surprise, though the timing is
slightly earlier than we would have thought," said UBS analysts.
East was well regarded by investors, but Segars had been
effectively running most of the business as executive vice
president and general manager of the processor business and was
also positively seen in the investment community, they said.
Some 8.7 billion ARM-based chips were shipped last year, up
from 420 million when East took over in 2001.