New CEO for Ultraleap
Steve Cliffe is to step down as CEO of UK haptics and handtracking company Ultraleap, to be succeeded by founder Tom Carter.
Carter founded Ultrahaptics in 2013 based on his PhD research on ultrasonic haptics and has been the company’s CTO. Cliffe has led Ultraleap as CEO since the founding and has grown the company to a global team of over 150 people, raised $134m and acquired Leap Motion in California, turning Bristol-based Ultrahaptics into UltraLeap and one of Europe’s lading technology companies.
Cliffe will stay on as a Special Advisor to continue to support Tom Carter and the leadership team.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to lead Ultraleap as CEO for the past eight years, and I am very pleased with the success we have achieved” said Cliffe. “I have worked closely with Tom since he brought me onboard as CEO in 2013. This is the right time for him to step into the CEO role and I am confident that under his leadership, Ultraleap will continue to grow and prosper. The decision to step aside was one of the most difficult of my career, but it is the right time for me to spend more time with my wife and family. I look forward to continue supporting Tom and the Ultraleap team in an advisory capacity” said Cliffe.
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“I am excited to serve as Ultraleap’s next CEO,” said Carter. “I want to thank Steve for his outstanding leadership and mentorship. Having had the privilege of working closely with Steve over the past eight years, I have learned a tremendous amount from him and am pleased that I will continue to benefit from his guidance moving forward. Above all I am excited to be leading an incredible team. The opportunity ahead for Ultraleap is vast, and over the coming years we will accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers around the world.
“Ultraleap has a unique proposition: we are the leader in hand tracking technology, and we have the world’s only mid-air haptics technology. Recent design wins and product launches with Qualcomm, Varjo and other industry leaders demonstrate that our solutions are now rapidly being adopted in Augmented and Virtual reality. We also have world leading offerings in touchless technology for self-service kiosks and automotive HMI, which are both well established and global growth markets. As the world continues to face significant change, I am inspired by Ultraleap’s opportunity to power the user interfaces of the future.”
“Steve has been absolutely instrumental in making Ultraleap the great company it is today. He has built a great team and culture, he has overseen Ultraleap’s expansion into the US and Asia and the acquisition of Leap Motion which enhanced the company’s IP portfolio and product offering significantly,” said Michael Tobin, Chairman of the Ultraleap Board.
“The board has been preparing for this handover for some time, most recently by doing an extensive succession planning exercise at the beginning of this year. The timing is right because the company is well financed, the leadership team is ready, and the technology is now proven and ready to scale rapidly. I am very pleased to see Tom now take on the CEO role. As a founder with both deep technical expertise and extensive entrepreneurial experience, he is the ideal leader to build on Steve’s great work and take the company to the next level,” said Tobin. “I’d like to thank Steve personally, and on behalf of the Board, for his contribution to Ultraleap. We wish him all the best and look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role.”
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