Imagination Technologies has announced that Sir Hossein Yassaie has stepped down after 18 years as the company’s chief executive with immediate effect.

Andrew Heath, a non-executive director who has held executive roles at Rolls-Royce and Alent, has been appointed interim chief executive while Imagination searches for a new chief executive.

“We have built Imagination from very small beginnings into the leading provider of graphics processors as well as general purpose micro-processors and connectivity solutions,” Sir Yassaie said. “Imagination is now one of the genuine UK-headquartered companies with significant global influence and impact.”

He added: “It’s now time for someone else to lead this great company.”

Bert Nordberg, chairman of Imagination Technologies, said: “Hossein has led the creation of Imagination’s successful IP business model over many years and through his vision and drive, the Group has become a global technology leader.

“On behalf of the Board and everyone at Imagination, I would like to thank him for his considerable contribution, his passion, leadership and achievements.”

The departure of Sir Yassaie comes as Imagination reported an EBIT loss for the financial year up to April 2016 as well as share price dropping 7%. Since the Group published its half year results in December 2015, market conditions have not improved and the slow-down in the overall semiconductor sector has continued, reinforced by global uncertainty about future trading prospects with China.

Imagination also announced details of restructuring and cost cutting initiatives including the sale of Pure, its consumer electronics business, in a bid to cut costs, saying it felt there were “more appropriate owners for Pure”.

The group is expecting to reduce the total operating costs of its on-going businesses by £15million in the financial year ending April 2017. £2m of which will be re-invested into the group’s key graphics processor technology product, PowerVR.

Nordberg added: “The measures announced today will allow the business to maintain the necessary investment in key areas, in order to further strengthen our unique IP, technologies and system solutions.”