By Barbara Jorgensen, EETimes (May 5, 2020)
Tuesday morning in London, a cadre of Imagination Technologies executives past and present will be questioned on the company’s plans by the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
British officials are convening this inquiry to assess whether China is seeking to secure significant influence or control over Imagination — three years after its acquisition by Canyon Bridge with financial backing from Chinese investors. Depending on what they hear, they will have to decide under what circumstances the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) can and should intervene.
The trigger for the government scrutiny is corporate boardroom drama that flared at Imagination over the last several weeks.
The removal of Imagination’s CEO raised fundamental questions about the intricate relationships among Imagination, its owner Canyon Bridge Partners, and Canyon Bridge’s limited partner China Reform. China Reform is a venture fund managed by the Chinese government.
Imagination’s proposal to appoint four directors representing China Reform to its board was apparently enough of an alarm for then CEO Ron Black and other senior executives to tender their resignations.
As soon as Imagination withdrew its original proposal to add China Reform directors, it looked as though Black might stay on. But within days, Imagination issued a statement saying Black had been replaced by Ray Bingham as an interim CEO
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