Former Osram CEO joins board of lidar company

April 7, 2021
Olaf Berlien resurfaces among the directors at Canada’s LeddarTech.

In a move that keeps him connected to the Osram orbit, former CEO Olaf Berlien has resurfaced on the supervisory board of LeddarTech, a Canadian company that provides light-based technologies for self-driving cars, and which is partially owned by Osram.

Berlien, who left his six-year stint as Osram boss at the end of February, took an early interest in LeddarTech while at Osram, where in July 2017 he approved a 25.1% stake in the company.

In January of this year, toward the end his Osram tenure, Berlien enthusiastically signed off on a deal in which Osram agreed to buy software and hardware from LeddarTech for use in Osram’s own lidar systems for autonomous vehicles.

“Early in 2017, Osram recognized LeddarTech’s promising technological lidar approach based on unique software and hardware components and therefore invested $70 million to become a major shareholder,” Berlien said at the time. “Since then, we have committed over $70 million more on developing lidar products.”

Now he has joined the board of the Quebec-based company.

“The LeddarTech board of directors is very pleased to welcome Dr. Olaf Berlien as its newest member,” stated Mr. Michel Brûlé, LeddarTech’s chairman.

Lidar — a long-used term for light detection and ranging — uses pulsed lasers to detect the presence and distance of people, cars, and other objects outside of a car. It feeds data to the vehicle’s navigation system.

Quebec-based LeddarTech provides sensors, systems on chips, laser modules, and other products, including lidar development software.

As a chip and sensor company, the Osram-backed group fits the general milieu at the now Ams-owned Osram. Austrian sensor company Ams purchased Osram last July, and in February replaced Berlien as Osram CEO, naming Ingo Bank to the role. Berlien had been increasingly emphasizing photonics over general illumination at Osram for several years.

Like any board job, Berlien’s post is not a full-time, day-to-day endeavor. Berlien also serves on the board of Droege Group, a Dusseldorf, Germany-based investment outfit.

In other news of former Osram brass, Stefan Kampmann, who had been chief technology officer until last November, joined Germany’s Voith Group with the same title, soon after leaving Osram.

Voith provides engineering and digital technologies and services to industrial sectors including energy, automotive, and raw materials.

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]m).

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About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.