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Swoboda to quit as chair, CEO, board member at Cree; stock surges 7%

Cree's Chuck Swoboda

May, 19 2017, 10:01 AM

Wall Street is reacting positively to news of change in the executive suite at Cree.

Chuck Swoboda, the chair and CEO at Cree where he also is a member of the board, is stepping down. He will leave when a successor is found, the Durham-based LED and semiconductor firm says.

The news sent Cree stock up some 3.5 percent early on, hitting $22.45 from Thursday's close of $21.70.

By 1:20 p.m., shares were up more than 7 percent to $23.27. Shares remained in the 7-percent-gain range near the close.

That's still a long way from Cree's 52-week high of $31.64 but climbing away from the 52-week low of $20.75.

“I have had the privilege of leading Cree for 16 years, which has been extremely rewarding both professionally and personally," Swoboda said in a statement.

"My decision to change my work-life balance follows a recent medical issue, which was resolved, and which caused me to reevaluate my priorities.”

Cree says a search for a successor will begin quickly.

Robert Ingram, the lead Cree board director, noted: “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.”

Cree made the announcement just before the markets opened Friday.

“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," Swoboda said.

"I know that under its next CEO, Cree (Nasdaq: 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.”





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