Saxby, Sir Robin Keith
One of the key engineers and innovators who enabled the smartphone revolution, Sir Robin Keith Saxby has helped change the way we communicate and do business by leading the company that developed what is perhaps the world’s most prolific microprocessor. Saxby was the founding CEO of Cambridge (U.K.)-headquartered startup ARM at the end of 1990 and developed it into one of the leading electronics intellectual property (IP) companies in the world. When ARM was formed as a joint venture between Acorn Computers and Apple, Saxby took 12 engineers from Acorn and, using a US$1.5M investment from Apple and US$250K from VLSI Technology, shaped them into one of the most formidable management teams in the industry. It is highly probable that your cell phone, tablet, laptop, smart watch, and the electronics in your automobile are powered by microprocessor architectures developed under Saxby’s leadership at ARM. Based on reduced instruction set computing (RISC) processing, ARM’s design used less power and cost than more complex designs used for PCs at the time, making them perfect for battery-powered consumer devices. Saxby introduced the licensing model for selling microprocessors and pioneered the concept of portable IP, with ARM licensing its microprocessor architecture and implementations to leading semiconductor and systems companies such as Intel, Sony, Philips, Samsung, Texas Instruments, Apple, and Motorola, and leading software companies including Microsoft. Today, the ARM microprocessor is integrated into more and more sophisticated chips, with an accelerating range of applications including digital cameras, games consoles, controllers for WiFi & Bluetooth systems, routers, and real-time automobile safety systems. Saxby also served as chairman of the Open Microprocessor Initiative, a European Union panel set up to advise on collaborative research and development activity in Europe. He was knighted by the Queen of England in 2002 for services to the information technology industry. Since his retirement from ARM, he has been dedicated to mentoring young entrepreneurs. He is also an angel investor for many U.K.-Headquartered technology startups.
A fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society (UK) Saxby is a visiting professor at the University of Liverpool, UK.