IQE boss to step down

IQE boss to step down

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Dr Drew Nelson plans to step aside from his current role as CEO of IQE in Wales once a successor has been found. The move is intended to capitalise on the growth opportunities of 5G and the Internet of Things. 

He will remain on the board of directors as president and will act in an advisory and ambassadorial role for the business, which he co-founded in 1988.  He started out at BT Research Laboratories in 1981, leading the group responsible for the development of optoelectronic devices for optical fibre communications, managing the technology transfer from BT to Agilent for mass production. He co-founded EPI in 1988, which became IQE in 1999. After a series of acquisitions, the company now has 650 staff across Europe, the USA and Asia.

Nelson has also been part of the development of the Compound Semiconductor Cluster (CS Connected) in Wales and he says he plans to devote more of his time to the further development of the CS Cluster.

“I have been extremely proud and privileged to serve IQE and its shareholders as CEO for the last 30 years. This now feels like the appropriate time to look for a new CEO to take over the leadership of the business and oversee the next exciting growth phase,” said Nelson. “I look forward to remaining on the Board and working with the executive team as it leads IQE into an exciting future.” 

“I want to thank Drew for his ongoing passion, commitment and contribution to IQE. Continuing as a board member once the new CEO is in place, he will be able to provide IQE with his expertise and industry knowledge and will remain with the company as a powerful ambassador and advisor. We look forward to working with him in this new capacity,” said Phil Smith, Chairman of IQE.

The company has had significant growth despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The second half of the year has continued with positive momentum in both the Wireless and Photonics business units, including a $10m contract for infrared and high-performance RF applications in the US.

“We are delighted to be reporting such a strong all-round financial performance, with anticipated revenue growth of over 20 percent for the full year, despite the ongoing uncertainty in the external environment. I am exceptionally proud of the whole IQE team whose dedication and commitment has enabled us to operate without interruption throughout this period,” said Nelson.

The growth is being driven by demand for GaAs wafers for 5G handset power amplifiers, as well as GaN on SiC wafers for 5G base stations, says the company. There is also consistently high demand for GaAs VCSEL wafers for 3D sensing applications, where IQE supplies 3D Sensing epitaxy wafers.

The company expects revenues to be at least £170m this year, ahead of its previous guidance of £165m and up 20 percent on last year.

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