18 July 2017
Akoustis names John Kurtzweil as CFO
Akoustis Technologies Inc of Charlotte, NC, USA, which designs and manufactures patented single-crystal BulkONE bulk acoustic wave (BAW) high-band RF filters for mobile and other wireless applications, has named John T. Kurtzweil as chief financial officer (CFO), replacing Cindy Payne, who remains with the firm as VP of finance and corporate controller. Concurrent with his appointment as CFO, Kurtzweil has resigned as a director on the Akoustis board.
Kurtzweil’s senior-executive leadership and financial experience includes 19 years as CFO of publicly traded technology companies, as well as the placement of an aggregate $1.9bn in equity and debt-financing instruments. He was previously VP finance at Cree Inc, which makes lighting-class LEDs, lighting and semiconductor products for power and radio-frequency applications. In addition, he was CFO of Wolfspeed, a Cree company and provider of wide-bandgap technology for power semiconductors and RF power amplifiers. Kurtzweil currently serves on the board of directors of Axcelis Technologies.
From 2012 to 2014, Kurtzweil was senior VP, CFO & special advisor to the CEO of Extreme Networks Inc. From 2006 to 2012, he was executive VP of finance, CFO and treasurer of Cree, during which time Cree’s annual revenue grew from $396m to $1.2bn. From 2004 to 2006, Kurtzweil was senior VP & CFO of fabless semiconductor firm Cirrus Logic Inc. From 2002 to 2003, he was senior VP & CFO of ON Semiconductor. Kurtzweil is a CPA (WI), CMA, has an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a bachelor's degree from Arizona State University in Accounting.
“I have had the opportunity to interact with John since his appointment to our board this past January,” notes CEO Jeff Shealy. “Having been the CFO at a number of multi-billion-dollar Nasdaq-listed technology companies, he has expertise not only in finance, but also in strategic planning, capital formation and M&A,” he adds.
Kurtzweil says he is joining Akoustis as its CFO “at a time when we are squarely focused on entering the fast-growing high-band BAW RF filter market utilizing our patented single-crystal technology… My prior experiences plus insights gained from being on the board uniquely position me to make an immediate impact.”
Akoustis is addressing market requirements for improved RF filters, targeting higher bandwidth, higher operating frequencies and higher output power compared to incumbent polycrystalline BAW technology. Performance is driven by the advances of high-purity, single-crystal piezoelectric materials and the resonator-filter process technology. The material properties drive electro-mechanical coupling, which translates to wide filter bandwidth. High-band RF filters are achieved by leveraging the firm’s high-sound-velocity, single-crystal piezoelectric materials, which offer high-thermal conductivity along the path of heat flow, enabling high power handling capability of the RF filter.