LED chip, lamp and lighting fixture maker Cree Inc of Durham, NC, USA says that chairman, president & CEO Chuck Swoboda will step down from his executive positions and as a member of the board of directors once a successor is appointed, after which he will remain available as a consultant during a transition period. The board will retain a leading executive search firm to identify a successor. Both internal and external candidates will be considered.
Since joining Cree in 1993, Swoboda has held numerous executive positions, leading the firm from a near start-up to now employing about 6400 staff worldwide. He has served as a member of the board since 2000, CEO since 2001, and chairman since 2005. In 2010, he was named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year for the Carolinas, and in 2013 he was named The Edison Report’s Lighting Industry Person of the Year. Cree was recognized as one of MIT Technology Review’s 50 Smartest Companies for 2014, and as one of Fast Company’s World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2015.
“My decision to change my work-life balance follows a recent medical issue, which was resolved, and which caused me to reevaluate my priorities,” states Swoboda. “This is a good transition time for Cree as we have three core businesses poised to enter another phase of accelerated growth,” he believes. “I look forward to working with the Cree board to find the right leader and to ensure a smooth handoff to my successor.”
“The board extends its deep appreciation to Chuck for his outstanding leadership over the past 16 years as CEO, and for his 24 years of service to Cree,” comments lead independent director Robert A. Ingram. “During that time, his passion for the business and focus on innovation has helped transform industries and has enabled the Company to achieve an eight-fold increase in revenue,” he notes. “He and the rest of the board agree that now is the right time to accelerate the process to identify a new CEO to lead Cree and further grow our three businesses.”
Cree has also reaffirmed its business outlook (announced on 25 April) for fiscal fourth-quarter 2017 (ending 25 June) of revenue of $340-360m, with net income rising to $2-7m ($0.02-0.07 per diluted share).