Segars, Boland, Hauser recruited to reboot UK’s NMI
Sir Hossein, founder and former CEO of Imagination Technologies Group plc, will chair an organization, which comes into being on May 10, with a renewed and broader mandate to support UK technology companies, lobby government, enable finance and foster startups.
With Brexit about to break such links as there are between UK technology activity and the numerous well-funded collaborative research programmes in the European Union it could be argued that such a move is imperative to try and keep established UK companies from losing significance and to foster a next generation of technology-based successes.
To achieve these goals a powerful board of directors has been recruited including Simon Segars, CEO of ARM Ltd.; Stan Boland CEO of startup FiveAI; and Luke Ibbetson, chief engineer at Vodafone. The board also reflects an increased interest in venture capital and helping UK to turn engineering excellence into commercial gain with members Hermann Hauser, of Amadeus Capital; Tim Luke of Barclays Capital; and Mike Risman – Vitruvian Partners. TechWorks will be led by chief executive Derek Boyd in the same role he held at NMI.
Whereas the NMI, founded in the 1990s, served as a trade association for the UK’s electronics and semiconductor industries, Techworks will have a broader brief that includes software and systems and extends into multiple application sectors, the organization said.
This is a process that has already started at NMI with the creation of the Internet of Things Security Foundation (IOTSF) and the Automotive Engineering Systems Innovation Network (AESIN).
TechWorks will be an umbrella organization arching over IoTSF and AESIN and the long-standing NMI Design and Manufacturing communities, with more self-directing, deep-tech bodies to follow. These include Power Electronics UK and communities to develop in such areas as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).
Next: Avoid Brexit-Techxit
“With Brexit looming we must promote the needs of the UK technology community or face a ‘Techxit’ that hampers our ability to start and scale business and retain our important position as a strong node in the global tech eco-system,” said Sir Hossein Yassaie, chairman of TechWorks, in a statement. “The UK does incredibly well at producing new and inspirational technology that changes the world but could do much better at building companies of scale and larger economic benefit. TechWorks as an organisation is single-mindedly focused on this challenge.”
ARM CEO Segars said: “The rise of new technology applications such as AI and IoT will create a wave of opportunity in both IP and applications. With a strong track record of meaningful engineering innovation, the UK is well positioned to benefit, and an umbrella organisation like TechWorks will create the progressive framework needed for the technology industry to focus its intentions and plan a unified strategy.”
In the same statement Stan Boland, CEO of FiveAI, observed that industrial collaboration now extends beyond traditional sectoral silos, that NMI’s work on creating “connected communities” had encouraged NMI’s membership to grow rapidly and that it was now time to re-organize to reflect this. At launch TechWorks includes more than 300 member companies and leading academic institutions.
The broadening of the NMI brief under the banner TechWorks reflects a similar change happening elsewhere. Tony King-Smith, who also previously worked at Imagination, is chief executive of the ESCO (Electronics Systems Challenges and Opportunities) Council, which is changing its name to ElecTech Council. Alongside ElecTech, TechWorks intends to ensure the UK government is aware of the priorities of the technology sector.
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