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CEO at chip maker ST-Ericsson steps down

Owner Ericsson continues to look for a way to secure ST-Ericsson's future following STMicroelectronics exit

ST-Ericsson's CEO Didier Lamouche has decided to resign from his post as owner Ericsson looks for a way to ensure its future.

The news comes following STMicroelectronics' decision in December to exit the joint-venture which was started in February 2009. It married ST's wireless semiconductor division and Ericsson's mobile platform.

Ericsson didn't provide any further details on what it plans to do with ST-Ericsson or who will take over as CEO. On Dec. 20, the company announced that acquiring 100 percent of ST-Ericsson isn't an option. Ericsson also said it would take a non-cash charge of approximately 8 billion Swedish kronor (US$1.25 billion) in the fourth quarter related to its stake in the chip maker.

The mobile chipset market is in a state of flux as more phone makers are looking to develop their own components. One element of Samsung's smartphone success is that the company builds its own processors and other components of its Galaxy products, and others want to emulate that.

But while its future hangs in the balance, ST-Ericsson is soldiering on and showed a couple of interesting products at Mobile World Congress last month.

For example, the forthcoming quad-core NovaThor L8580 processor was demonstrated running at 3GHz. The chip die also holds an Imagination PowerVR graphics processor and a multimode LTE modem with carrier aggregation, which provides one of the underpinnings for LTE-Advanced.

In addition to LTE, the chip's radio part can communicate on HSPA+, GSM and TD-SCDMA networks, and with up to 17 bands on the same device, vendors can build global LTE smartphones with the smallest number of manufacturing variants of their phone, according to ST-Ericsson.

Lamouche took over the role as CEO in December 2011, and his resignation will take effect on March 31, according to a statement.

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