The boss of Imagination Technologies is reportedly on the brink of resigning as a state-owned Chinese company attempts to seize control of the board.
Chief executive Ron Black, who has run the firm since December 2018, has signalled his intention to quit in protest at China Reform’s move to appoint four new directors, according to Sky News.
The chip designer, which counts Apple and Samsung among its largest customers, was bought out for £550m by private equity firm Canyon Bridge Capital Partners. Canyon’s main investor is the state-owned China Reform Holdings.
Sky News sources said Black and several other Imagination executives were likely to step down as soon as this week if the boardroom changes were forced through.
Last week it was revealed China Reform wanted to gain control of Imagination Technologies’ board. The state-owned firm indicated it would use that control to redomicile the Hertfordshire-based firm and its intellectual property assets to China.
Former Brexit secretary David Davis called for a government investigation into the move. He urged ministers to probe China Reform’s actions and asked the culture secretary Oliver Dowden to “intervene to ensure that this change of control does not take place”.
The chairs of four Commons committees have also written to the Prime Minister, asing him to intervene on the grounds of potential risks to national security.
GCHQ and the National Cyber Security Centre have also been informed of the developments, according to Sk News.
It is understood that China Reform gave assurances at the time of its deal with Imagination that it would only be a passive investor.
Imagination Technologies were contacted for comment.