Broadcast: News items

GRADUATION: Honour for Sussex alum who's now a global tech industry leader

Simon Segars

Since graduating from Sussex in 1990 with a degree in electronic engineering, Simon Segars has become one of the leading figures in the global tech industry.

In 1991 he joined ARM Holdings, a start-up microprocessor design company in Cambridge, and rose through the ranks to CEO. Today, the company, which employs 6,000 people in 45 countries, provides the technology for an estimated 99% of the world’s mobile devices.

Arm’s technology has been shipped in over 145 billion chips in applications ranging from supercomputers to phones, TVs and cars. Following a £24.3 bn takeover of ARM by Japanese company Softbank in 2016, Simon’s focus now is on creating the technology that will power the next generation of smart applications including self-driving cars, AI and 5th generation wireless networks.

But business success is nothing without purpose and so in parallel he is also looking at how to exploit the benefits of smart technology for good. He strongly believes that technology has a key role to play in addressing the world’s most pressing sustainability issues, such as food production, water conservation and climate change.

To support this, in 2017 he helped to create 2030Vision, a partnership that connects businesses, NGOs and governments with the technology and expertise they need to contribute to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“My time at Sussex has certainly helped shape me,” he says. “Being aware of your impact on the world is part of the Sussex ethos, and it’s very much how we operate our company culture.

“At ARM we’ve tried to create technology that provides opportunities to a global population, making it accessible to people and driving down costs. So, fundamentally, we’ve tried to democratise access to tech.”

ARM’s projects include a Smart Fin on surf boards so that surfers can gather scientific data about the health of oceans and coastal regions, and U-Report, a social messaging tool supported by UNICEF that enables young people all over the world to connect with their governments and decision-makers on issues of concern to them.

In recent years Simon has been involved with awarding the social impact prize at Sussex, awarded by the Sussex Innovation Centre alongside their Startup Sussex prizes.

“I want to give back some of what I gained from the institution,” he says. “The experience I had at Sussex was pretty good, and so if I can pay that back in some way, then why not?”


Simon Segars will be conferred an Honorary Doctor of Science on Thursday, 25 July 2019, at a ceremony beginning at 10am.

By: Jacqui Bealing
Last updated: Friday, 31 January 2020