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Finisar co-founder Jerry Rawls retires, Michael Hurlston appointed as new CEO

Finisar co-founder Jerry Rawls has officially stepped down and is succeeded as chief executive officer and company director by Michael Hurlston, in a move effective immediately. Robert Stephens has been appointed to replace Rawls as chairman of the board.

Rawls announced last September that he planned to retire before the end of this year, his departure marking the ‘end of an era’ for the company that he co-founded (see Finisar co-founder and CEO Jerry Rawls to retire). He will continue to serve as a director, and work closely with Hurlston over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition.

‘After a thorough and thoughtful search process, we are pleased to welcome Michael Hurlston to Finisar as CEO and a member of the board of directors,’ said Stephens in a statement. ‘Michael has broad experience as a highly-successful technology industry executive and we know Michael is the right leader to build on our success and market-leading position.’

‘On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Jerry for his tireless and inspired leadership of Finisar over the past nearly 30 years,’ he continued. ‘Under Jerry's leadership, Finisar has grown from its founding in Quonset hut in Menlo Park, California to a world-leading optics company with cutting-edge products and approximately $1.4 billion in revenues in its most recently completed fiscal year.  We are deeply grateful to Jerry for his innumerable contributions to Finisar's growth and success to-date and are confident that he has positioned the company solidly for the great opportunities in our industry today.’

Hurlston most recently served as a senior vice president and general manager of the mobile connectivity products/wireless communications and connectivity division at Broadcom. He has also held senior marketing and engineering positions at Oren Semiconductor, Avasem, Integrated Circuit Systems, Micro Power Systems, Exar and IC Works.

On his appointment Hurlston stated: ‘I am very excited to join Finisar and lead the great company that Jerry and his fellow employees have built. Finisar has world-leading products and technology, engineering talent, and manufacturing capabilities and a reputation for excellence in the industry and with its customers.  The optical communications and components industry is rapidly advancing and there are many new exciting customer opportunities.  I look forward to getting to work.’

Outgoing CEO, Rawls added: ‘I'm thrilled that Michael is going to lead Finisar into the future. Michael's experience, proven technical skills, and leadership abilities will serve Finisar, our customers, employees, and stockholders very well.  At Finisar, we have built a great company with fantastic employees dedicated to serving our customers' needs and developing world-leading, cutting-edge technology products.  I am confident that Michael is the right person to lead us to even greater success.’

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