Dr Drew Nelson OBE is to leave IQE plc, the company he founded in 1988, to focus his energies on the wider semiconductor industry.

The Cardiff-headquartered firm, which makes semiconductor wafers for chips used in Apple products, said it has retained his services on a consultancy basis for a further year.

Nelson plans to focus on his interests in continuing to build the South Wales Compound Semiconductor cluster, the wider UK and international semiconductor and deep tech industry, and his role as chairman of the advisory board of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Semiconductors.

“IQE’s recently appointed board members bring a wealth of industry experience to the board and give Drew the opportunity to pursue his interests now that IQE is well supported in its next phase of growth,” IQE stated.

Nelson served as group CEO from 1999-2021, overseeing IQE’s growth to become a global leader in compound semiconductor wafer products and services. He continued his engagement at IQE as president and a non-executive director.

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“On behalf of everyone at IQE, I’d like to thank Drew for his contribution to this business over more than 35 years,” said CEO Americo Lemos. 

“His support since I was appointed as CEO was key to the success of the transition, and his advice and guidance as a Board member has been invaluable.”

Phil Smith, chairman of IQE, commented: “Drew’s contributions to IQE as a founder, CEO and President cannot be understated. He has been instrumental to the business’s growth from startup to a global innovator and leader in the sector. 

“Drew will continue to be a key figure in the semiconductor industry in his work with the South Wales Compound Semiconductor cluster, and other related activities, and we look forward to working with him in this capacity.”

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