LONDON — Imagination Technologies has appointed former Rambus CEO Ron Black as chief executive officer, replacing Leo Li. Imagination said that Li will step down at the end of this month to purse his own SoC startup.

Earlier this year, Rambus terminated Black’s contract for conduct “falling short of the company’s standards.” While Rambus did not reveal the exact circumstances of the conduct involved, Rambus said Black was fired following an incident unrelated to the business.

An Imagination spokesperson said that they had looked into this issue but felt that his track record of accelerating growth in the companies that he has led spoke for itself. In addition, Black was a known entity who previously worked with Ray Bingham, Imagination’s executive chairman, said the spokesman.

Bingham, who is founding partner at Canyon Bridge Capital Partners Inc. as well as chairman of Imagination, said, “I have worked with Ron previously and have considerable respect for his leadership capabilities, technical understanding, and strategic thinking.”

Imagination said that during his six-year tenure as president and CEO of Rambus, Black transformed the company, significantly increasing its revenue and profit, resulting in the share price increasing from about $4 to about $15.

Ron Black
Ron Black

Black is a veteran figure in the semiconductor and technology industry with more than 25 years of experience, including stints as CEO of both UPEK and Wavecom. Earlier in his career, Black held leadership roles with Agere Systems, Gemplus, IBM, and Motorola. He has led companies both in the U.S. and Europe and created strong partnerships and joint ventures in China.

Li is also stepping down as CEO and chairman of the Global Semiconductor Alliance. He plans to establish an independent SoC company using Imagination’s IP, a long-term objective of Li’s, according to Imagination.

Imagination is focused on licensing a range of silicon intellectual property across the areas of graphics, AI/neural networks, and connectivity/Wi-Fi.