Tuesday 24 November 2020 9:34 am

Founder of British chipmaker IQE steps down after three decades

The founder and chief executive of British chipmaker IQE is to step down after three decades at the helm.

IQE, which makes components for chips used in Apple products, said Dr Drew Nelson will step aside from his role once a successor has been found.

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The Cardiff-based semiconductor group said the change of leadership would help it transition into a new phase amid the rise of 5G and the internet of things.

Following a handover period, Nelson will become a board member with the title president, acting in an advisory capacity to the company he co-founded in 1988.

“I want to thank Drew for his ongoing passion, commitment and contribution to IQE,” said chairman Phil Smith.

“Continuing as a board member once the new chief executive is in place, he will be able to provide IQE with his expertise and industry knowledge and will remain with the company as a powerful ambassador and advisor. We look forward to working with him in this new capacity.”

Under Nelson’s leadership, IQE has grown into one of the major players in the semiconductor market, supplying chip technology to a range of manufacturers across the globe.

It came as IQE posted an upbeat trading update for the year, lifting its revenue expectations to £170m — marking 20 per cent growth year on year.

The company forecast full-year operating profit in the mid-single-digits. Shares were up more than 4.5 per cent in early trading.

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The trading was spurred on by continued demand for 5G products, as well as its largest ever order in the military and defence sector.

The purchase, which came from a major US customer, is worth $10m and will be deliverable over the next nine months.