Bluetooth company CSR names new chief executive

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CSR has appointed Joep van Beurden to replace John Scarisbrick as its chief executive, ending the semiconductor industry veteran's rocky 18-month tenure in charge of the company.

The bluetooth technology developer has decided to bring in some fresh blood in the form of Mr Van Beurden, who is currently head of privately held French technology company NexWave. The 47-year-old, who has also worked at Philips at its components division, will take up the new role at CSR at the start of November.

It is Mr Van Beurden's first job running a listed company and he will be charged with driving adoption of CSR's new GPS and wi-fi-based technologies as it looks to further reduce its dependence on mobile phone-based bluetooth sales.

Mr Scarisbrick, who will stay on at the company until the end of the year in an advisory role, came out of semi-retirement to take the reins at CSR in March last year and was always considered a short-term appointment as a result.

Nonetheless, the timing of his departure and the short handover period came as a surprise to analysts. He has agreed a compensation package with the company that will be detailed when CSR publishes its annual report. Last year, Mr Scarisbrick was paid a salary of $735,000 (£364,000) as well as a bonus of nearly $200,000.

After listing its shares in 2004, CSR achieved stunning success in the bluetooth market as sales of handsets using the short-range wireless technology took off. Yet over the past year, the stock has been incredibly volatile due to a series of profit warnings as well as potential litigation threats.

The warnings related to a downturn in sales of high-end mobile phones as well as inventory problems with one of its key headset customers but Mr Scarisbrick has fought hard to convince investors that the potential for further bluetooth growth remains strong in areas such as wireless headphones and wi-fi devices.