April 4, 2006 – FEI Co., Hillsboro, OR, said that its president and CEO Vahe Sarkissian has resigned, and will step down from his chairman/board position prior to the company’s annual shareholders meeting on May 11.
Raymond Link, currently CFO, will also act as interim CEO while a successor search is conducted. He joined the company in July 2005 from TriQuint Semiconductor Inc., where he was CRO and VP of finance and administration. No other executive leadership changes will be made.
“Vahe has led FEI to significant growth since he arrived at the company in 1998, and he has positioned the company as a leader in tools for growing nanotechnology markets,” said FEI lead board director William Lattin, in a statement. “With the company on track to renew its growth, now is the appropriate time for this transition. The board is looking forward to selecting a new leader to take advantage of the market and technology potential that we all see for FEI.”
With his departure, Sarkissian also receives more than $2.2 million in lump-sum payments for severance compensation, as well as accelerated stock options, according to SEC documents filed by the company. As of September 2005, he held 71,544 shares of company stock — which after his resignation was announced shot up nearly 12% to $22.09/share.
FEI has seen its stock slump in recent weeks, after the company reported a 4Q loss of $30.7 million, vs. a profit of $8.4 million a year ago, mostly in charges related to facilities closures, asset impairments, and investment writedowns. FEI also recently indicated it had terminated discussions of a possible acquisition by Carl Zeiss SMT, which it claims were initiated by the German firm.