GaN Systems’ Founders Girvan Patterson and John Roberts to Retire

August 25, 2016 by Jeff Shepard

Ten years after launching a GaN semiconductor company, and leading the company to a leading position in the world of GaN power transistors, the two Ottawa-based co-founders of GaN Systems, President Girvan Patterson and CTO John Roberts have announced their retirement. Having achieved their goal of building GaN Systems into the world leading manufacturer of GaN power transistors and supplier to more than 500 customers, serial entrepreneurs Patterson and Roberts will leave their operating roles. Mr. Patterson will retain a position on GaN Systems' Board of Directors, while Mr. Roberts will remain available to the company as an emeritus contributor.

Prior to starting GaN Systems, both Roberts and Patterson had extensive experience in the semiconductor industry, each with remarkable careers launching new companies. John Roberts was founder and president of two Ottawa-based semiconductor companies, Calmos (later Tundra) Semiconductor, and SiGe Semiconductor. Girvan Patterson founded graphics workstation producer Orcatech, and co-founded Plaintree Systems, a pioneer in Ethernet switching. Together, Messieurs Patterson and Roberts have taken a dozen companies either to an IPO or acquisition.

Reflecting over the past decade, Girvan Patterson remarked, “I am honored to have presided over a company that has delivered a core technology for achieving the energy efficiency the world needs, by making electronic systems more efficient, lighter and compact. Saving a datacenter millions of dollars in energy costs or enabling hybrid vehicles to dramatically increase miles per gallon fuel efficiency is very satisfying as well as very important in today’s world. I am immensely grateful to our early investors who had sufficient faith in us to allow us to lead the company to this stage – and of course to the wonderful disparate team of creative people who gathered around us; our staff, but also our suppliers and collaborators – all of whom shared, and I hope enjoyed and learned from the ride. After 10 years of building GaN Systems into the premier purveyor of GaN transistors, it is time to transition leadership to the team that will take revenue to $100 million.”

John Roberts added, “We are very proud that we have been able to take that vision and culture beyond our company to the outside world – in the process convincing the supply chain and customers that we could make GaN real. It is very satisfying to see our customers’ products – batteries charging in minutes instead of hours, Internet server racks with more Terabytes per second of data, cars with extended range, and motors with tiny embedded electronics - all because of our transistors. As I step aside, I look forward to watching GaN Systems team continue to bring efficiencies to power system designers, while simultaneously imparting their companies with a competitive edge.”

In appreciation of the co-founders’ contributions, GaN Systems’ CEO, Jim Witham commented, “Founders Girvan Patterson and John Roberts both are visionary leaders who together have successfully navigated the development of GaN Systems’ product development, manufacturing and quality processes. What Girvan and John have achieved during their tenure at GaN Systems is truly remarkable. They built a robust product portfolio, established the supply chain, and signed on a world-class global distribution and support channel. The company and culture they have built has attracted the very best talent and the results speak for themselves. Under their stewardship, for the first time wide band gap power devices have enabled power systems with vastly superior performance and lower cost than was possible with silicon.”