Broadcom Corp. cofounder and Chief Technical Officer Henry Samueli has been named chairman of the Irvine-based chipmaker, marking the second time he has held the post in the last three years.

Samueli succeeds John Major, who joined Broadcom's board in 2003 and was named chairman in 2008.

Major, the founder of Microtech Staffing Group in Quincy, Mass., will continue to serve as lead independent director.

The move brings Samueli’s storied career at Broadcom full circle after he took a three-year absence from the board to publicly distance himself from the company during a lengthy legal battle over backdated stock options.

Samueli served as chairman and chief technical officer until 2008, when he stepped down amid a federal probe that resulted in the Securities and Exchange Commission suing him and other executives in what regulators called a "massive fraud scheme" to backdate stock options.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney in 2009 threw out a criminal charge against Samueli, who was accused of lying to investigators. The judge cited prosecutor misconduct and a lack of evidence in dismissing the case.

The SEC civil case against Samueli also was dropped.

Samueli resumed an executive post at Broadcom later that year, and rejoined the board of directors last year, taking a seat on the compensation committee.

Samueli is considered an engineering icon at Broadcom, which makes communications chips for cell phones, computers and consumer electronics.

“There is no stronger advocate for the success of our innovation culture than Henry,” Broadcom Chief Executive Scott McGregor said.

Broadcom has amassed one of the industry's largest property intellectual portfolios, counting more than 16,000 U.S. and international patents and applications.