By Junko Yoshida, EETimes (April 14, 2020)
There’s a corporate boardroom drama unfolding at Imagination Technologies (Kings Langley, the U.K.) that features high finance, international intrigue, and an all-star cast. It’s an irresistible story, and like many of the greatest TV dramas, the suspense hinges on figuring out who’s the real villain. Is it…
- Ron Black. The American CEO credited with engineering a recent turnaround at Imagination Tech. He was abruptly removed from his position last Friday.
- Ray Bingham. Imagination’s chairman, and now Imagination Tech’s interim CEO. Bingham is also co-founder and partner at Canyon Bridge Capital Partners (formerly based in the U.S., but now registered in the Cayman Islands), which purchased Imagination Technologies in September of 2017.
- Jon Kao and Peter Kuo. Co-founders and partner of Canyon Bridge. They sit on the board of Imagination Tech, along with Bingham. Black, the fourth member of the board, was kicked out when he was removed as CEO.
- China Reform Holdings. A $30 billion venture fund controlled by the Chinese government. China Reform is a key backer for Canyon Bridge. Imagination Tech had an emergency board meeting originally scheduled last Tuesday; that meeting was to push through the appointment of four board members with links to China Reform.
- Oliver James Dowden. Culture Secretary of the U.K. government. Hearing of the meeting, Dowden intervened, apparently concerned that Imagination Tech’s board would shift the company’s intellectual property (IP) from the U.K. to China. The meeting was called off.
- Houssein Yassaie, former CEO of Imagination. Following Black’s ouster, Yassaie has spoken out against China Reform’s taking control of Imagination. He contends the company’s IP is strategically important to the U.K. He says he is now in “deep discussion” with relevant cabinet ministers in the U.K.
Who you suspect to be the villain probably depends on where you stand in the geo-political spectrum.
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