He replaces Dr Leo Li, who steps down as both Imagination CEO and Chairman of the Global Semiconductor Alliance to establish an independent system-on-chip (SoC) company. Li only joined in April 2018, coming from chairman, CEO and president of fables mobile phone chip developer Spreadtrum Communications, now called Unisoc Communications.
He replaced Andrew Heath, who had overseen the sale of most of the company to a Chinese-backed venture fund, Canyon Bridge Capital Partners since joining in 2016 to replace long term CEO Sir Hossein Yassaie. THe company also settled with Apple after an extended dispute over its PowerVR graphics cores and technology. The MIPS processor technology part of the company was sold to a US venture capital firm Tallwood in September last year.
Dr. Black has over 25 years of experience in the semiconductor business, most recently as CEO of Rambus, and previously as CEO of UPEK and Wavecom. Earlier in his career he worked at Agere Systems, Gemplus, IBM, and Motorola. Imagination point to his experience leading companies both in the USA and Europe, and creating strong partnerships and joint ventures in China.
During his six years as CEO of Rambus, he has focussed on changes to its IP strategy. Imagination says it remains focused on creating and licensing a broad range of silicon intellectual property across the areas of graphics, AI/neural networks, and connectivity/Wi-Fi.
“I have worked with Ron previously and have considerable respect for his leadership capabilities, technical understanding and strategic thinking,” said Ray Bingham, founding partner at Canyon Bridge Capital Partners and Executive Chairman of Imagination.
“With over 25 years at the cutting edge of technology, and with a hugely successful track record in change management and creating value, Ron’s experience and vision for the future will enable him to lead Imagination, building on its strong strategy for delivering leading AI and GPU technologies. We thank Leo for all that he has done to lay firm foundations for the future and to build a strong management team at Imagination. This is a natural evolution for Leo and we hope that his new business will be a significant customer of ours in the future and we wish him every success.”
“Imagination has put in place an exciting and ambitious strategy, both to capitalise on disruptions in key markets and territories, and to show why it has led for so many years in GPU,” said Black. “The value Imagination brings to our customers in GPU, AI, and connectivity is the basis of its position as a world leading independent IP supplier. I am going to ensure that both Imagination and its partners can reap the full potential of our ground-breaking IP.”
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