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Rambus shuffles key executives

Memory maker names new CEO and chairman in the midst of its "next phase of growth."

Rambus, an often controversial memory company, announced late Tuesday that it has a new chairman and CEO.

Harold Hughes, a Rambus board member and longtime Intel executive, will take over for Geoff Tate. Tate, meanwhile, will become chairman in place of venture capitalist Bill Davidow. Davidow will remain on the company's board of directors.

"We are positioning the company for the next phase of growth with these leadership changes," Tate said in a statement. Tate was the CEO of Rambus for almost 15 years.

The transition takes place at a time of potential growth for the company. Rambus will face off against memory maker Infineon Technologies in a court battle over memory royalties. Although Rambus initially lost the case at the trial level, an appeals court reversed the ruling. If Rambus wins the case, and other similar cases, it could be entitled to billions of dollars in royalties.

The company also has seen increases in licensing revenue and income. Rambus' net income for the third quarter came to $10.4 million, more than double the $5 million in net income for the same period the year before. The company, which employs about 200 people, specializes in chip high-speed interfaces, electronic protocols that allow semiconductors to communicate.

Hughes most recently served as chairman and CEO of applications service provider Pandesic, a joint venture between Intel and SAP that was shuttered in 2000.