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Rambus Begins Search for CEO as Harold Hughes Retires

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Rambus Inc., a designer of computer memory chips, said Chief Executive Officer Harold Hughes will retire and that he’ll remain at the helm until a successor is appointed.

The search is under way for an executive to replace Hughes, 66, Sunnyvale, California-based Rambus said in a statement today.

The former Intel Corp. executive has led Rambus through some of its toughest legal disputes with larger companies in the computer memory business. The company has attempted to assert ownership of technology at the heart of all of the chips made in the $29 billion dynamic random access memory industry.

“Rambus is on a strong path as a result of our diversification strategy and recent license agreements with key semiconductor companies,” Hughes said in the statement. “Given this, I have decided it is time to start the process of identifying my successor and help the company move into the next phase.”

Rambus shares plunged 61 percent on Nov. 16, for their biggest one-day decline since the company sold shares in 1997, after the company lost a $3.95 billion jury trial over allegations that Micron Technology Inc. and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. conspired to prevent Rambus chips from becoming an industry standard. Earlier this month, Rambus signed a licensing deal with Nvidia Corp.

Rambus shares fell 1.3 percent to $7.42 at the close in New York, before the retirement announcement. They have dropped 65 percent in the past 12 months.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian King in San Francisco at ianking@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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