11 January 2023
Wolfspeed appoints Elif Balkas as chief technology officer
Wolfspeed Inc of Durham, NC, USA – which makes silicon carbide materials as well as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) power-switching & RF semiconductor devices –has promoted Elif Balkas to chief technology officer, succeeding the late Dr John Palmour, a co-founder of Wolfspeed, who died on 13 November.
“Since her start with Wolfspeed in 2006, Elif has been instrumental in our technology and production development, and she was the clear choice to help steer Wolfspeed as we continue to lead the transition from silicon to silicon carbide,” says CEO Gregg Lowe. “One of John’s greatest legacies is the talent he nurtured and developed on the Wolfspeed team, and we are confident Elif will continue to drive innovation in silicon carbide with passion, ingenuity and leadership.”
In her role as VP of research & development in Wolfspeed’s Materials organization, Balkas shaped the company’s technical strategy on wide-bandgap materials and drove its development execution to maintain Wolfspeed’s position in silicon carbide for power and RF device applications. During her tenure, she has overseen multiple technology milestones, including the development of 150mm and 200mm boule growth systems and processes, the dramatic reduction in crystal defect levels that saw higher device yields, and advancements in wafer processing.
“I’m excited to continue building upon the legacy that John created and unlock new innovations and applications for silicon carbide,” says Balkas. “I look forward to the new challenge of finding greater efficiencies as we continue to expand the reach of our technology.”
Balkas has more than 20 years of experience in the technology industry. Prior to Wolfspeed, she served in leadership positions in R&D and operations, focusing on developing silicon carbide crystal growth and GaN technologies that are scalable for manufacturing purposes and that enable more efficient and powerful electronic systems. She received her Ph.D. in Materials Science from North Carolina State University and is a co-founder of the Wolfspeed Women’s Initiative, an employee resource group focused on encouraging, developing and supporting women who lead the way in innovation.