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Arm cutting 15 per cent of workforce is setback for Cambridge’s world-class chip design success story

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Fulbourn-based chip design giant Arm has announced it will cut to to 15 per cent of its workforce.

The Arm campus on Fulbourn Road. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Arm campus on Fulbourn Road. Picture: Keith Heppell

The company told the Cambridge Independent in a statement: “Like any business, Arm is continually reviewing its business plan to ensure the company has the right balance between opportunities and cost discipline. Unfortunately, this process includes proposed redundancies across Arm’s global workforce.

“If the proposals go ahead, we anticipate that around 12-15 per cent of people in Arm would be affected globally.”

Arm employs more than 6,250 people, mainly in the UK and US. The loss of 15 per cent of its staff would involve 937 staff.

The company, which designs chips for every key brand from Samsung to Apple to Qualcomm, has had a relatively troubled few years following unparalleled success since its formation out of the ashes of Acorn Computers as Advanced RISC Machines Ltd in 1990.

Rene Haas, CEO of Arm. Picture: Arm
Rene Haas, CEO of Arm. Picture: Arm

Since 2016, it has been owned by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group. In September 2020, it was announced that Nvidia would buy Arm from SoftBank for $40bn, subject to regulatory approval. The proposed deal set off a storm of unease and it was withdrawn in February this year. SoftBank has since announced that it plans to float Arm on the stock market by 2023.

Simon Segars then stepped down as CEO. The new CEO is Rene Haas, previoulsy president at Arm.

Commenting on the loss, Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner said: “News reports of job losses at Arm are a real blow. This follows the failure of talks with NVIDIA to purchase the company from investment firm SoftBank.

“When the sale to SoftBank was first celebrated by the Conservative Government under Theresa May I and others expressed strong reservations about control passing away from Cambridge.

“When NVIDIA came on the scene there were further fears that if SoftBank couldn’t make the onward sale it would look to restructure and put jobs at risk. Those concerns have proved justified.

“We should be keeping key technology firms such as Arm under British ownership and safeguarding British Jobs. In this uncertain time, Arm must now consult with trade unions and support those being made redundant to find alternative employment.”

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