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Former Arm chief Warren East taking up his first directorship at Dyson; “Dyson is a bit like Arm really. They’re two UK companies that compete on a global scale, representing British engineering and design – and being good at it.”

August 5, 2013 12:02 am

Former Arm chief Warren East joins Dyson

By Andy Sharman

Warren East is taking up his first directorship at a UK company since stepping down as chief executive of chipmaker Arm Holdings, by joining the board of Dyson, the innovative consumer goods company. Mr East, who left Arm last month, has been appointed non-executive director at the Wiltshire-based maker of high-tech vacuum cleaners, hand dryers and fans as it seeks to expand in Asia and Latin America. “Dyson is a bit like Arm really,” the 51-year-old said. “They’re two UK companies that compete on a global scale, representing British engineering and design – and being good at it.”Mr East was chief executive at Arm for 12 years, during which the company became the biggest supplier of microprocessors to the global smartphone and tablet industry – and the largest UK technology company by market value. Arm’s revenues grew from about $200m when he took over to $900m last year.

The company emerged in 1990 from the Silicon Fen cluster of start-up companies around Cambridge and now has a market capitalisation of £12.3bn.

Max Conze, Dyson chief executive, said: “We’ve been looking for experience in how you move from small to more scale but maintain a very entrepreneurial footprint . . . Warren has very long sight lines where technology – particularly smart technology – is going in the future, and that’s an area that’s of interest to us.”

Dyson’s latest products are driven by a small, light digital motor that includes an Arm microprocessor. Last month, the company unveiled the DC49, a pull-along vacuum cleaner with a footprint smaller than an A4 sheet of paper.

The privately owned group, which was founded in 1993 by Sir James Dyson, began selling products in China in November and now makes 85 per cent of its sales outside the UK. It plans to launch in Latin America this year.

It has more than 4,400 employees based in three sites: the UK head office; a Malaysian factory and a new £150m motor facility in Singapore. In its 2011 accounts – the most recently available – the group reported annual sales of more than £1bnfor the first time, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £306m.

Since announcing his retirement from Arm in March, Mr East has taken up non-executive roles at Micron, the Idaho-based chipmaker, and Connected Digital Economy Catapult, a network of innovation centres set up by the government’s innovation agency. He has been a non-executive director at De La Rue, the banknote printer, since 2007.

Mr East will sit on the Dyson board with Sir James’s two sons, Sam and Jake, who were appointed in March. Tony Hobson, former chairman of UK software group Sage, also joins Dyson as non-executive director, as does Ian Robertson, a board member at German carmaker BMW.

Sir James, the chairman and chief engineer, said he looked forward to the new board’s “sound advice, though I can’t promise I will always listen”.

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About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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