Robin Saxby

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Sir Robin Saxby

Sir Robin Keith Saxby FRS.jpg
Robin Saxby in 2015, portrait via the Royal Society
Robin Keith Saxby

(1947-02-04) 4 February 1947 (age 74)[1]
Alma materUniversity of Liverpool (BEng)
Patricia Bell
(m. 1970)
Scientific career

Sir Robin Keith Saxby FREng[3] HonFRS[2] (born 4 February 1947)[1] is an English engineer who was chief executive and then chairman of ARM Holdings, which he built to become a dominant supplier of embedded systems.

Early life and education[edit]

Saxby was born in 1947 in Derbyshire and was educated at Chesterfield Grammar School,[2] a boys' grammar school. He attended the University of Liverpool, where he gained a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics in 1968.[1]


Saxby had an electronics kit at the age of eight and a television repair business at the age of 14. Reflecting on this in 2006, he considered himself "destined for the electronics industry".[4] He worked at Rank Bush Murphy, Pye, Motorola and Henderson Security. Immediately prior to his appointment at ARM, he worked at European Silicon Structures.[2]

In 1991 he joined Cambridge-based ARM as their first chief executive officer (CEO) and built it to "a global giant" with offices round the world.[5] He was chief executive from 1991 to 2001, and subsequently chairman from 2001 to 2006. It was at ARM that he made his real impact on the electronic industry. When he was appointed CEO in 1991, he took 12 engineers from Acorn Computers into the newly formed joint venture between Acorn and Apple Inc. With a limited budget of a $1.5 million investment from Apple, he made those 12 engineers into one of the most formidable management teams in the industry. In a memorable early meeting, he persuaded one of the engineers to volunteer to become the vice president (VP) of marketing, another the VP of sales, and so on. Saxby also introduced the licensing model for selling microprocessors, which led to a 95% market share in the mobile phone sector. With a similar success in other sectors, he has made ARM into the world's most successful processor company, with over 50 billion units shipped[6] to date.[2] During his 10 years as CEO, he made ARM the most valuable company in the Cambridge cluster, with a market capitalisation of over $10bn. ARM under his leadership became a global company with offices in many countries and licences taken by all significant semiconductor companies in the world. This is a unique achievement for a British company, especially in electronics.[2]

Since his retirement from ARM, he has become a tireless promoter of young entrepreneurs and is involved in a number of start-up companies which he supports with advice, finance and infinite patience. He has dedicated time to mentoring young entrepreneurs, helping them through difficult times and never losing faith in them.[2][7][8][9]

Honours and awards[edit]

Saxby is a chartered engineer, an honorary fellow of the FIET and a fellow[3] of the Royal Academy of Engineering.[3] He has honorary doctorates from the University of Liverpool (where he is a visiting professor), Loughborough University,[10] the University of Essex, Nottingham Trent University and Anglia Ruskin University.[11]

He received the Faraday Medal of the IEE (now the IET). He was knighted in the 2002 New Year Honours List. He became president of the IET on 1 October 2006[12] and stepped down on 30 September 2007. In 2013 he presented the IET prestigious Pinkerton Lecture. He was president of the Old Cestrefeldians Society 2012/13.[13] Saxby was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2015.[2]

Saxby received the 2019 IEEE Founders Medal “For achievements in developing a globally successful electronics enterprise with an innovative approach to licensing of Intellectual Property.”

Personal life[edit]

Saxby married Patricia Bell in 1970. They have a son and a daughter.[1][13]


  1. ^ a b c d e "SAXBY, Sir Robin (Keith)". Who's Who. Vol. 2016 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Sir Robin Saxby FREng FRS Honorary Fellow". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the website where:

    “All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.” --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

  3. ^ a b c "List of Fellows".
  4. ^ "Q5: Sir Robin Saxby, chairman of ARM". Electronics Weekly. 24 February 2006. Archived from the original on 28 December 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  5. ^ The Andrew Davidson Interview: ARM chairman steps down, but not out Sunday Times 28 May 2006
  6. ^ "Celebrating 50 Billion shipped ARM-powered Chips". ARM holdings. Archived from the original on 20 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Robin Saxby Ph.D.: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". Businessweek. Retrieved 24 March 2015. Sir Robin Saxby, Ph.D. served as the Chief Executive Officer of Arm Inc.
  8. ^ IET TV: An Evening with Sir Robin Saxby
  9. ^ Videography of Sir Robin Saxby, 2012 recipient of the GSA Morris Chang Lifetime Achievement Award. on YouTube, ARM holdings
  10. ^ Peter Day (4 June 2007). "An Evening with Sir Robin Saxby". IET. Retrieved 24 March 2015. Sir Robin Saxby FREng BEng CEng HonFIET was involved in the founding of ARM and served as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer since joining the company full-time in February 1991.
  11. ^ ISMS. "Anglia Ruskin University's Honorary Graduate Site". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015. Sir Robin Saxby is a highly respected engineer, manager and entrepreneur. He was born in Derbyshire, educated at Chesterfield Boys Grammar and obtained a Bachelor of Engineering (Electronics) from Liverpool University where he is now a Visiting Professor.
  12. ^ IET press release Archived 20 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ a b "OUR 2012 PRESIDENT: Sir Robin Keith Saxby" (PDF). Retrieved 16 February 2015.
Professional and academic associations
Preceded by President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology
Succeeded by