Who Decides the Appointment of Arm China’s Chairman and CEO?

The fate of Arm China’s executive chairman and CEO Allen Wu has been causing a ton of confusion in the business world this week. The conflicting public statements of Arm China, joint venture of chip architecture company Arm, have triggered questions about its corporate control.

On Wednesday morning, Wu was reportedly removed from his post. Arm China’s board of directors declaredly appointed the company’s vice presidents Ken Phua and Phil Tang as its interim co-CEOs to succeed Wu.

Then around noon, Arm China’s WeChat public account issued a statement, saying that no personnel changes have occurred, “Chairman and CEO Allen Wu continues to lead the company according to law.”

However, merely four hours later, Arm UK and HOPU Investment confirmed the dismissal of Wu, which was decided by Arm China’s board of directors on June 4. Evidence obtained from multiple sources shows that U.S. citizen Wu violated the company’s guidelines thus “the removal is a responsible decision for the long-term stability and business development of Arm China,” the announcement said.

Arm China was established in May 2018 to take over Arm’s business in the Chinese market and serve domestic chip companies. With the Chinese partner controlling 51% of the shares and Arm owning 49%, Arm China has continuously emphasized its goal to be an “independent Chinese” and “local chip IP” company and gradually promoted local R&D capability, which may be one of the reasons for the contradicted statements.

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According to EE Times China, another reason might be the miscommunication between Arm China’s two public relations agencies, one in Taiwan and one in mainland China. Arm China’s market communications is based in Taiwan while its marcom is in mainland China.

Wu joined Arm in 2004 and became the vice president of sales in China in 2007. He was promoted to president of Greater China in January 2013, and joined the Arm global executive committee in January 2014. Prior to joining Arm, Wu founded AccelerateMobile in Silicon Valley, and had held multiple positions at Mentor Graphics, LSI Logic, and Intel.

Up to now, Wu is still remains in his position and works in the office normally. Phil Tang has left the company, and Ken Phua is still working in Singapore due to the pandemic.