Imagination replaces CEO with Chinese chip veteran

April 03, 2018 //By Peter Clarke
Imagination replaces CEO with Chinese chip veteran
Imagination Technologies Ltd. (Kings Langley, England) has announced that experienced Chinese semiconductor executive Leo Li is to become CEO, taking over from Andrew Heath who brokered the sale of the company to private equity firm Canyon Bridge Capital Partners LLC (Palo, Alto, Calif.).

Although Canyon Bridge is US based it manages funds provided by the Chinese government (see Imagination, MIPS to be sold to China-, California-connected VCs ). No date was given for when Li will assume the top job.

Li was CEO and chairman of one of China's first globally successful fabless chip companies Spreadtrum Communications. He went to be chairman of RDA microelectronics before becoming co-president at Chinese holding company Tsinghua Unigroup. During his nine-year tenure at Spreadtrum Li helped grow revenue from $100 million to $2 billion and increased the company’s market value from $35 million to $7.5 billion. Li is now also chairman of the Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA).

Ray Bingham, founding partner at Canyon Bridge Capital Partners Inc. and Executive Chairman, Imagination said in a statement that Li would maintain Imagination as a leader in graphics and connectivity while achieving growth with artificial intelligence technologies. "This appointment demonstrates our commitment to hire the best talent, invest in new technology and acquire and serve customers globally," said Bingham.

In the same statement Li said: "We have a strong strategy today to evolve the company to the next level of success by capitalising on the opportunities in other markets, particularly China, one of the largest semiconductor markets in the world. We will have a renewed focus on technology innovation through strengthening our R&D capabilities, making Imagination a clear global technology leader again, and bringing value to our customers."

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