Lumileds appoints Matt Roney as CEO, emphasizes automotive applications

Sept. 22, 2020
Jonathan Rich will stay on as executive chairman of the board while on Oct. 1 Matt Roney will move from his position heading the auto business at Lumileds to CEO.

LED manufacturer Lumileds has announced that Matt Roney will take over as CEO on Oct. 1, replacing Jonathan Rich who will remain executive chairman of the board at the company. Roney just joined Lumileds back in January, becoming president of the Lumileds Automotive Business Unit. The CEO change marks the second with Lumileds operating under Apollo Global Management, which announced the acquisition of Lumileds from Philips at the end of 2016. Moreover, the announcement hints at an increased focus on the automotive solid-state lighting (SSL) sector for Lumileds.

Jonathan Rich had moved into the CEO position back in the spring of 2019. Rich lacked experience in the LEDs or semiconductor sectors, but had a deep history of management positions within Apollo-owned companies. The two prior Lumileds CEOs, Mark Adams and Pierre-Yves Lesaicherre, came to the LED maker from the semiconductor industry. Perhaps in his 18 months on the job, Rich has brought the Apollo way to Lumileds and charted a new path forward for the company.

“Speaking on behalf of the board of directors, we are grateful for Jon’s contributions as CEO and believe Lumileds is well positioned for success in this next phase under Matt’s leadership,” said Rob Seminara, senior partner at Apollo Global Management. “Matt has nearly 25 years’ experience in the automotive industry, and his performance and leadership throughout his career have given us even greater confidence in his ability to drive long-term innovation and growth at Lumileds.”

Indeed, Roney does have more automotive than technology experience on his resumé including leadership positions within TRW Steering, a top OEM supplier for automotive and truck manufacturers. It’s very clear that Lumileds sees the automotive sector as the key to growth. And it’s easy to understand why. There are fewer LED manufacturers competing for automotive wins. Components in the auto market sell at a premium. And supply cycles are lengthy for manufacturers that secure design wins.

Consider the data from our Strategies Unlimited sister business unit that was presented at Strategies in Light back in February. The total automotive market for LEDs, including in interior and exterior lighting applications, will go from about $3B (billion) this year to around $6B in 2024.

That automotive lighting forecast is heavily weighted by growth in the exterior segment for turn indicators, headlamps, daytime running lamps, and more. But the interior market may well be undervalued as we are seeing an explosion of SSL deployment in car cabins for both ambience and safety applications. We recently ran a story on new SSL uses by Cadillac and Mercedes and in fact featured an Escalade SUV on our cover.

Of course, the general lighting market remains far larger. Packaged LED revenue for general lighting applications will approach $20B by 2024, according to Strategies Unlimited. And we would not expect Lumimleds to ignore that market. Indeed, the company has announced a number of recent LEDs intended for general lighting. For example, the company just last month announced higher-performance Luxeon 5050 LEDs.

Roney also made sure to mention general illumination is discussing his move to CEO. “Lumileds has a long history of innovation in conventional automotive lighting and is a pioneer of leading-edge LED technology for the consumer electronics, automotive, and general illumination markets,” said Roney. “I am honored by the opportunity to lead this extraordinary company and team in its next phase and excited by the opportunities ahead to bring new and innovative lighting solutions to market. I look forward to building on the foundation Dr. Rich has put in place to further advance our technologies and increase the value we deliver to customers across a broad set of industries.”

For up-to-the-minute LED and SSL updates, why not follow us on Twitter? You’ll find curated content and commentary, as well as information on industry events, webcasts, and surveys on our LinkedIn Company Page and our Facebook page.