Sir Hossein Yassaie, chief executive officer of Imagination Technologies, has stepped down as of Monday, Feburary 8th. Mr. Yassaie served as Imagination’s CEO since 1998 and joined the company in 1992. The company expects to report a loss for the financial year, which may be the reason for CEO’s departure. Andrew Heath, one of the company's non-executive directors, has been appointed interim chief executive. He has already began to search for a new CEO for Imagination.

Imagination licenses graphics, multimedia and general-purpose processing technologies to various chip developers, including Apple and Intel. The company indicated that royalties from some of its key customers have fallen short of previous expectations for the last calendar quarter of 2015. The company also lowered its forecast for Q1 2016. Imagination named global slowdown in the semiconductor sector as well as global uncertainty about future trading prospects with China as the reasons for its financial problems. While Imagination indicated that its licensing pipeline remains strong, it is not sure about its license revenue timing.

Imagination Technologies was founded in 1985 as VideoLogic. The company sold chips for televisions, game consoles and PCs. Mr. Yassaie changed the company’s business model to technology licensing in 1999 and essentially exited chip business several years later. Imagination tried to return to the market of graphics adapters with its Kyro and Kyro II graphics chips in early 2000s, but it could not compete against ATI and NVIDIA at the time. Starting from the year 2000 Imagination bought a number of important technology companies, significantly boosting its IP portfolio. Among the companies acquired by Imagination are Ensigma (digital signal processing), Caustic Graphics (hardware/software for real-time ray-tracing technology), MIPS Technologies (general-purpose processing) and a number of others. Today, Imagination can provide virtually all technologies needed to build system-on-chips for almost all kinds of devices. In fact, Imagination’s graphics processing technologies are used inside billions of smartphones and tablets.

Imagination did not announce when it expects to hire its new CEO, but said that it will consider both internal and external candidates. For a company like Imagination the absence of permanent CEO concerning because it constantly needs to make strategic decisions that have long-lasting effects on its future. Technologies developed by Imagination today will be licensed only a couple of years down the road and it is important for them to be competitive against offerings from ARM as well as developers of proprietary chips. As pointed out by The Tech Report, Mr. Yassaie is the author of the intellectual property licensing model that brought the company to fame, and it will likely not be easy to find a replacement due to the complexity of the technology licensing business.

Alongside Mr. Yassaie's resignation, Imagination also announced additional details on restructuring initiatives, which include the sale of Pure, its consumer electronics business. The company expects to reduce operating costs of its on-going businesses by £15 million in the next financial year, ending April 2017. In addition, Imagination will re-invest £2 million in PowerVR graphics processing technology. The company also plans to analyze its overhead expenses and research and development expenditures before implementing additional restructuring actions.

Source: Imagination Technologies (via The Tech Report)

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  • jjj - Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - link

    If Synaptics gets sold to China, they should get Rick Bergman as CEO.
    He did a great job at Synaptics , he knows GPUs. he knows the mobile industry.
  • Speedfriend - Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - link

    What is most notable from the statement is the fact that a major customer (read Apple) saw lower than expected shipments last quarter and is expected to be the same this quarter. Having just been looking for a 6S for my girlfriend, and being able to get a 128gb one at a £150 discount, leads me to wonder just how much excess stock is out there.
  • jjj - Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - link

    JDI (display maker from Japan) just reported Q4 at 304,975 mil yen,mobile being 88.6% of the rev
    Q1 outlook is 190,160 mil yen so down some 37.6% sequentially and they blame it on Apple plus weakness in China and elsewhere. Apple really overordered parts in Q4.
    Apple actually reports channel inventory and in Q4 they increased it by 3.3million units so the total was about 21.7 million units as they exited Q4. Chances are they'll increase further to make results look better in Q1.
  • name99 - Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - link

    Do a Google search for "apple channel inventory". You'll see people making these claims for every quarter of the past five years. And yet none of these previous inventory excesses have ever led to the collapse in price that people seem to imagine they portend (probably because Apple is not a company of idiots and they know better than the tea-leaf readers what their expansion plans are, what large sales deals they've recently added with new carriers, etc etc).
  • Speedfriend - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - link

    Except this statement is not an apple channel rumour, it is a confirmed fact in the financial statements of a sole source Apple supplier.

    And in case you haven't noticed, Apple's share price is down almost 40% from its highs, and has significantly under-performed Google and Microsoft over the past 12 months.
  • jjj - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - link

    I never said the inventory will lead to lower prices.
    However, poor sales do lead to that and even to new products in Tim Cook's era.
    Apple has a lot more price cuts now than under Jobs, they almost never had any just a few years ago. Look at the ipad in the last few years or the Apple Watch this holiday season.The iphone 5c was a reaction to poor sales.
    As for Apple knowing better, apparently they don't. Reports from every major supplier showed that apple over-ordered in Q4 and , if you would be spending more time on acquiring information and less on insults, you would know that too.
  • name99 - Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - link

    Uhh, Apple had their best quarter ever last quarter, including record sales of iPhone...

    If you think Apple are giving iPhones away, might I politely suggest that you're severely deluded.
    I suspect what you are calling a "discount" is some carriers way of locking you into a contract; either way that discount does NOT come from Apple. Did you buy the phone at an Apple Store at that price...?
  • Speedfriend - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - link

    Apple only had their best quarter ever because of a 4m odd build in iPhone inventory, i.e. phones sold to carriers or retailers that were unable to be sold on to customers, the very reason why retailers are now discounting them to clear stocks. And the problem has continued into this quarter. Apple's reported sales are NOT sales to customers, except those through Apple stores.

    It was not a carrier discount, but a discount on a number of 6S models from a online phone retailer. Apple almost never discounts directly at an Apple store, but clearly offers incentives to other retailers to discount products which can be seen in the same discount appearing at the same time across stores.
  • webdoctors - Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - link

    Imagination named global slowdown in the semiconductor sector as well as global uncertainty about future trading prospects with China as the reasons for its financial problems.

    I hope I can blame all my failures on China and vague global slowdown fears. Intel just had an excellent quarter. China's growth is slowing down but its not negative. These guys are such jokers, why don't they blame Mexico or the exchange rate next quarter...
  • lmcd - Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - link

    Unlike Intel, a lot of ImgTec's sales scale off of the Chinese market. Many cheap SoCs use PowerVR graphics.

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