Cree Announces CEO Succession Plan

5/21/17

DURHAM, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE), a technology market leader, today announced that Chairman, President and CEO Chuck Swoboda will step down from his executive positions and as a member of the Board of Directors following a transition period. Mr. Swoboda intends to stay on until a successor is appointed, and thereafter will remain available as a consultant to the Company to ensure a seamless transition of leadership responsibilities.

The Board of Directors will retain a leading executive search firm to identify a successor. Both internal and external candidates will be considered.

Since joining Cree in 1993, Mr. Swoboda has held numerous executive positions with the Company, leading Cree from a near start-up to today’s technology market leader, with approximately 6,400 employees worldwide. Mr. Swoboda has served as a member of the Cree Board of Directors since 2000, as chief executive officer since 2001, and Chairman of the Board since 2005. In 2010, Mr. Swoboda 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.

Mr. Swoboda stated, “I have had the privilege of leading Cree for 16 years, which has been extremely rewarding both professionally and personally. My decision to change my work-life balance follows a recent medical issue, which was resolved, and which caused me to reevaluate my priorities.”

Mr. Swoboda added, “I believe that this is a good transition time for Cree as we have three core businesses poised to enter another phase of accelerated growth. I know that under its next CEO, Cree will continue to disrupt markets with new technologies and superior-performing products that deliver great value to our customers while consuming less energy. I look forward to working with the Cree Board to find the right leader and to ensure a smooth handoff to my successor.”

Robert A. Ingram, Lead Independent Director of the Cree Board of Directors, said, “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. 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.”

Mr. Ingram concluded, “Given Chuck’s decision, 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. We look forward to Chuck’s continued leadership as we conduct our CEO search and transition.”

The Company today also reaffirmed its previously announced business outlook for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017 ending June 25, 2017. As announced on April 25, 2017, for the fourth quarter Cree targets:

  • Revenue in a range of $340 million to $360 million.
  • GAAP net loss of $16 million to $22 million, or a $0.16 to $0.23 loss per diluted share.1,3
  • Non-GAAP net income in a range of $2 million to $7 million, or $0.02 to $0.07 per diluted share.1,2,3

1 Cree’s fourth quarter GAAP and non-GAAP targets include $3 million+/- of expenses related to non-recurring costs from the Company’s Lighting Products business right-sizing initiatives and joint venture start-up costs.
2 Targeted non-GAAP income excludes $23 million, net of tax, of expenses related to stock-based compensation expense and the amortization or impairment of acquisition-related intangibles.
3 The GAAP and non-GAAP targets do not include any estimated change in the fair value of Cree’s Lextar investment.

About Cree, Inc.

Cree is a leading innovator of lighting-class LEDs, lighting products and wide bandgap semiconductor products for power and radio frequency (RF) applications. Cree’s product families include LED lighting systems and bulbs, blue and green LED chips, high-brightness LEDs, lighting-class power LEDs, SiC materials, power devices and RF devices. Cree’s products are driving improvements in applications such as commercial and consumer general illumination, video screens, electronic signs and signals, motor drives, power supplies, EV charging, solar, traction, transportation, radar, communications, telecom, data link and broadband amplifiers.

For additional product and Company information, please refer to www.cree.com.

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