Transmeta's Ditzel drops CEO title for CTO role

Time for the company to grow as a business

Transmeta leader and co-founder Dave Ditzel has handed over his CEO title to president and COO Mark Allen. Instead, he'll become CTO and vice chairman, the corporate equivalent of an executive producer in the movie business, ie. more about salary than responsibility.

Taking on the role of Chief Technology Officer makes a lot of sense for Ditzel, who seems far more suited to the twin tasks of technology evangelism and chivvying along techies than bean counting and admin, which is really what being a CEO is all about.

Such a move isn't uncommon among technology start-ups. Eventually, they reach the point where the techies who founded the company decide they want to focus on technology rather than business. Witness Matthew Szulik's rise to the top of the Red Hat totem pole when founders Bob Young and Marc Ewing wanted to focus less on running a company and more on what interested them.

Allen joined Transmeta just over a year ago, in January 2000, so we'd be surprised if the promotion isn't probably part of his first annual pay review. Whatever the motivation, Transmeta has reached the point where it's initial focus on technology development and implementation needs to be extended with a real effort to build a business based upon that technology. Clearly Ditzel believes Allen is better suited to that task than he. ®