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Wolfspeed appoints Elif Balkas as CTO

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Wolfspeed's VP of research and development for materials succeeds the late John Palmour

Wolfspeed has announced the promotion of Elif Balkas to chief technology officer, succeeding the late John Palmour, a co-founder of Wolfspeed.

“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 SiC,” said Wolfspeed 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 SiC with passion, ingenuity and leadership.”

In her role as VP of R&D in Wolfspeed’s Materials organisation, Balkas shaped the company’s technical strategy on wide bandgap materials and drove its development execution to maintain Wolfspeed’s position as a leader in SiC for Power and RF device applications. She has overseen multiple significant technology milestones during her tenure at the company, 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 SiC,” said Balkas. “It’s an exciting time of growth at Wolfspeed and I look forward to the new challenge of finding greater efficiencies as we continue to expand the reach of our technology.”

Balkas brings more than 20 years of experience in the technology industry. Prior to Wolfspeed, she served in a variety of leadership positions in R&D and operations, focusing on developing SiC crystal growth and GaN technologies that are scalable for manufacturing purposes and that enable more efficient and powerful electronic systems. She received her PhD 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.

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