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ARM head legs it from core body: CEO Warren East retires

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ARM Holdings' chief executive Warren East is stepping down after nearly 12 years leading the British tech success story.

East, 52, is retiring on 1 July, 2013, and will be replaced by 45-year-old ARM president Simon Segars, processor core designer ARM confirmed this morning.

East said in a statement: “It has been a privilege to lead ARM during such a momentous and exciting time for our industry and I am proud of what the ARM team of employees and partners has achieved together while I have been CEO."

ARM chairman John Buchanan said in a statement that East had transformed ARM during his tenure - from a single processor product line found mainly in mobile phones and other handheld gadgets to a broad portfolio of technologies used in nine billion chips.

Segars has been with ARM slightly longer than East, since 1991. He has held various positions including executive vice president of engineering, during which time he worked on the early ARM processors, and EVP of worldwide sales and EVP of business development. He held top spots at ARM in both the UK and US.

Segars said he’s “keen to lead the company into the next phase of growth”.

A chartered engineer, East joined ARM in 1994 from Texas Instruments, four years after the chip architecture specialist was spun out from BBC Micro shop Acorn.

East joined the fledgling company to set up ARM’s consulting business and rose to vice president of business operations, chief operating officer and then CEO in 2001.

ARM was spun out of British computer maker Acorn’s research and development operation in 1990. Acorn, Apple and VLSI Technology were all stakeholders in the new venture to build the ARM processor for equipment including the Acorn Archimedes and RiscPC microcomputers and Apple’s Newton handheld computer in the early 1990s. VLSI was an early licensee of the company’s RISC designs.

It was during that decade that Cambridge-based ARM began licensing its processor architecture to chip fabricators; these companies bolted the ARM cores onto other electronics to create low-power system-on-a-chip components for specialist systems ranging from set-top-boxes to hard drives and mobile phones.

But it wasn’t until the success of the Apple iPhone and iPad that the ARM name finally went mainstream - expanding the Brit biz beyond the lucrative world of embedded engineering.

By 2011, Microsoft wanted to put its Windows NT family kernel on ARM - breaking its long marriage with Intel. Microsoft released Windows 8 for ARM on its Surface and tablets from others in October 2012.

ARM architectures today run 95 per cent of the world's smartphones, but just 10 per cent of PC-style computing devices. ARM’s goal is to power 50 per cent of mobile PCs by 2015. ®

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