Cree CFO departs after growing the LEDs company to $1B+

May 28, 2012 — Cree Inc. (Nasdaq:CREE) will be looking for a replacement, as 6-year EVP of finance and CFO John Kurtzweil resigned to pursue other opportunities at Extreme Networks, a small, growing firm. During his tenure, the light-emitting diode (LED) company Cree grew from $400 million in revenues to over $1 billion, and employees have grown 250% to almost 5,000. Cree was ranked the 6th largest (tied with Philips Lumileds) LED supplier of 2011 by Strategies Unlimited.

Michael McDevitt will serve as interim CFO while the company searches for a replacement with Russell Reynolds Associates, executive search consultants. Kurtzweil will remain with Cree through June 15 to transition his responsibilities.

While Cree’s stock price has been volatile in response to Kurtzweil’s departure, analysts at Maxim Group say the important matter is not that Kurtzweil is leaving, but who will replace him. Cree was around the same size when he joined as Extreme Networks is now, and Maxim notes that his career history has been on growing small tech firms. Kurtzweil’s departure from his last 3 employees came prior to large gains in their stocks, Maxim notes. “In light of CREE’s growth and development, we believe this represents a sensible step given its strategic shift downstream,” Maxim’s analysis states.

“We remain on track with our targets,” said Chuck Swoboda, Cree chairman and CEO. A CFO more experienced with large organizations and the commercial/consumer end markets CREE now targets will be the ideal replacement CFO, Maxim said.

Interim CFO McDevitt has been in the position before, during the 2006 transition, and has held corporate controller, director of financial planning and director of sales operations roles at the company.

Cree makes lighting-class LEDs, LED lighting, and semiconductor products for power and radio frequency (RF) applications. For additional information, please refer to

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