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1 February 2017

POET streamlines organization and makes key new appointments

POET Technologies Inc of San Jose, CA, USA — which has developed the proprietary planar optoelectronic technology (POET) platform for monolithic fabrication of integrated III-V-based electronic and optical devices on a single semiconductor wafer — has announced organizational changes to streamline the executive roles and operations of the consolidated organization, including a realignment of management responsibilities and key new appointments.

The acquisition on 11 May 2016 of Singapore-based DenseLight Semiconductor Pte Ltd was undertaken for strategic reasons including: to expand the POET's development facilities and capability; secure internal fab capacity; facilitate customer engagements across multiple product lines; and access established distribution channels. As part of ongoing integration efforts over the past seven months, both POET and newly hired DenseLight executives have been conducting a strategic review of the organizational, functional and operational structure of the DenseLight fab. In support of management's effort to streamline the consolidated organization as well as further leverage its DenseLight subsidiary, POET has made the following appointments:

  • Rajan Rajgopal as president & general manager of DenseLight, replacing Jerry Rodriguez who has resigned but will remain on DenseLight's board and continue to act as an advocate for POET. Rajgopal has previously had senior executive roles with firms such as Micron, GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Texas Instruments. He holds an MSEE degree from the University of Maine and a BSEE degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Soma Sankaran as DenseLight's VP of sales for the Asia-Pacific region; current senior VP of sales & marketing Bryan Patmon will shift his primary focus to sales efforts in Europe and North America. Most recently, Sankaran led sales activity in the South Asia Pacific region for LED maker Cree Inc, where he identified and penetrated multiple new countries and implemented sustainable long-term growth strategies. Previously, he held sales as well as product and field engineering roles at Avago, Agilent and Hewlett Packard.
  • Dr HaiQun Zheng as VP of DenseLight's Field Application Engineering organization (overseeing POET's critical applications engineering initiative). Zheng has 20 years of experience in optoelectronics research, engineering and sales, including new product introductions, production planning, inventory management as well as supply-chain management.
  • Patrick Thong as DenseLight's VP of operations, reporting to Rajgopal. Thong has more than two decades of experience in semiconductor fab operations, including plant operations, new-product initiatives, technology development, supply chain management, logistics as well as strategic sourcing. He has specific experience in end-to-end manufacturing – starting from new product introductions to pilot runs, and ultimately full-scale production and contract manufacturing.

Also, in support of consolidating operations and product development efforts and to achieve greater cost efficiencies, organizational changes have been taken to streamline POET's leadership team and conserve cash resources.

Chief operating officer Dr Subhash Deshmukh has resigned (effective 13 January) and assumes a new part-time role as special advisor to the CEO, driving and leading special projects for the firm. Chief financial officer Thomas Mika will fill the position Deshmukh previously held on DenseLight's board. The resulting vacancy in the COO position is not expected to be filled, as the firm's staff in Singapore will perform the various facets of this role in coordination with Mika.

Also, POET has eliminated the position of corporate chief technology officer, held by Daniel Desimone (who is no longer with the firm). The role of CTO will be assumed by CEO Dr Suresh Venkatesan, who is familiar with and had already been overseeing POET's technological development and product roadmap.

"As part of the ongoing integration of our DenseLight subsidiary, we've continued to carefully evaluate the organizational, functional and operational elements of the business," says Venkatesan. "With these realignment actions, we are significantly streamlining the consolidated organization in order to maximize the efficiency and productivity of our commercial platform," he adds. "The individuals we've appointed bring tremendous depth of experience to POET. Collectively, they meaningfully enhance our existing product development and sales efforts, while also helping to ensure that we fully capitalize on the value of our fab and POET's international operations."

Finally, as part of the announced realignment, POET is formally dissolving its Technology Roadmap Advisory Board (TRAB), which was originally established specifically to monitor its critical 'lab to fab' transition program. POET management believes that this oversight committee is no longer necessary following the addition of critical technologically centered staff through the acquisitions of both DenseLight and (in May 2016) BB Photonics Inc (a designer of integrated photonic solutions for the data communications market), as well as with recently hired new executives. The TRAB's members will remain available to offer support and informal guidance to POET's internal management committees.

Grant of options

POET also announced the granting of incentive stock options under its stock option plan to Thomas Mika (effective 16 January), consisting of the right to purchase up to 500,000 common shares. All of these options are exercisable at CAD$0.385 per share. The options vest in stages over a period starting on 16 January 2018 and ending 16 January 2021. They were granted subject to provisions of the firm's stock option plan, which was approved by shareholders on 7 July 2016 and are subject to the TSX Venture Exchange policies and applicable securities laws.

See related items:

POET grows revenue in Q3, but operational challenges at DenseLight acquisition delay production

POET appoints chief financial officer

POET reports further step towards commercializing integrated optoelectronics technology platform

POET completes acquisition of BB Photonics

POET completes acquisition of DenseLight

Tags: POET

Visit: www.poet-technologies.com

Visit: www.denselight.com

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