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CEO Shuffle at Rambus

Computer memory manufacturer Rambus shuffled its top executives Tuesday to accommodate the departure of Chairman Bill Davidow.

The Los Altos, Calif.-based firm said CEO Geoff Tate will replace Davidow, who is expected to remain on Rambus' board of directors. The company makes chip interface products and services, including its own version of dynamic random access memory known as RDRAM .

Stepping up to replace Tate as CEO is Harold Hughes, a current member of the Rambus board who recently served as chairman and CEO of Pandesic, an Intel and SAP joint venture. Hughes spent 23 years at Intel including serving as treasurer, the head of the Intel Capital division, CFO and the head of Planning and Logistics.

"The company is uniquely positioned to solve some of the most demanding challenges faced by our semiconductor and system customers," Hughes said in a statement. "I am extremely excited about our future prospects and look forward to leading this tremendously talented and committed team."

Hughes adopts a company with its fair share of successes and setbacks. While Rambus has found a hit with its XDR memory bus technology for the widely used double data rate memory (DDR1) and the next-generation version DDR2 , the company has been mired in patent lawsuits and other litigation.

Last week, a U.S. federal judge in New York cleared the way for Rambus to proceed with its patent lawsuit against Korea's Hynix Semiconductor.

The suit originates from an ongoing investigation into synchronous memory patents Rambus obtained during its membership on the Joint Electron Devices Engineering Council (JEDEC), a non-profit organization that promotes technological standards.

Rambus filed a $1 billion antitrust lawsuit in May 2004 against four of its competitors, including Hynix. Rambus accused each of price fixing and conspiracy to drive its RDRAM technology out of the market. Micron Technology , Infineon Technologies and Siemens were also named in the suit.