March 1, 2001 3:45 PM PST

Transmeta CEO to step down

Transmeta founder Dave Ditzel will step down as chief executive officer to become vice chairman and chief technology officer, the company said Thursday.

Mark Allen, the company's president and chief operating officer, will become the new CEO. Both Allen and Ditzel will serve on the board.

Executives who help create a company often give up lofty managerial titles during periods of growth and maturation. For example, Red Hat Chairman Robert Young and founder Marc Ewing gave up the titles of CEO and CTO, respectively. Ditzel is largely known for his technical abilities.

By contrast, Allen is known as a manager. He has held positions at Nvidia, C-Cube Microsystems and Cypress Semiconductor. He became Transmeta's president and chief operating officer in January 2000.

?I am extremely proud of the progress Transmeta has made over the last six years from the start-up stage to a company shipping Crusoe microprocessors to major (manufacturing) customers,? Ditzel said in a statement.

?From our first product announcement in January 2000 to one of the most successful IPOs of last year, Transmeta has achieved our original vision. Now, as Transmeta is poised for growth, I intend to increase my focus on our future product strategy and technology development.?

Transmeta sells the Crusoe chip for notebooks, Internet appliances and servers. The Crusoe consumes less power than many competing chips. As a result, it provides better battery life and produces less heat, according to the company. Sony and Gateway, among other companies, have adopted the chip in a limited number of products.

The company was founded in 1995 but didn't show its technology to the public until January of last year. Transmeta had its initial public offering in November, just a month after the first Transmeta-based notebooks debuted in Japan. The stock more than doubled the first day of trading but has sunk below its IPO price amid market malaise.

Analysts generally hold polarized opinions about the company's future. Some believe the company will carve out a profitable niche in the notebook market. Others say it will be marginalized by Intel, which is making Pentium chips that are more energy efficient than before.

 

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