Cree Corporate Timeline
Posted March 3, 2011 3:31 p.m. EST
1987: Cree Research Inc. is founded
1989: The company introduces world's first blue light-emitting diode (LED)
1991: Released world’s first commercial SiC wafers
1993: Cree Research makes a public stock offering.
1994: Cree acquires Color Cells International of Hong Kong and establishes from it a new subsidiary, Real Color Displays.
1998: The conductive eye buffer LED is introduced; HB blue and Green LED's are launched.
1999: Cree demonstrates its four-inch silicon carbide (SiC) wafer.
2000: The company changes its name to Cree Inc.
2001: Cree introduces MegaBright blue and UV LED's and the Schottky diode.
2003: Eric Hunter, a co-founder and former CEO of Cree, filed a $3.2 billion lawsuit against the company and his brother, Neal. Eric alleged his brother, Cree's chairman, used a 2000 acquisition to artificially inflate the company's finances and stock price. Neal, his mother, and another family member responded by alleging that Eric Hunter is mentally ill. The lawsuit was settled when Eric Hunter dropped all claims against Cree and agreed not to sue again. He also resigned from the company.
2005: Cree co-founder Neal Hunter resigned as chairman and was replaced almost immediately by CEO Charles Swoboda
2007: Acquired COTCO Luminant Device Ltd. of Hong Kong
2007: Announced corporate conversion to LED lighting; Launched Cree Solution Provider program
2008: Opened engineering center in Shenzhen, China; Brings LED lighting to largest commercial lighting market
2009: Entered into patent license agreement with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation on the sale of GaN substrates
2009: Announced planned installation of more than 4,200 LR24 recessed LED luminaires at the Pentagon
2009: Announced the expansion of its North Carolina manufacturing capacity
2010: Signed a distribution agreement with Arrow Electronics, Inc. for SiC power products
2010: Hosted Vice President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Steven Chu for a company tour and press conference
2010: Pledged to provide LED downlights for kitchens in all new Habitat for Humanity homes built in the United States