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ZigBee Company Ember Hires Bob LeFort as President and CEO

By Bill Giovino, Executive Editor
Apr 10, 2006 - 4:25:00 PM

ZigBee leader Ember has hired aggressive executive Bob LeFort as President and CEO
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Boston, MA, April 10, 2006 (Microcontroller.com): Bob LeFort, a 20-year veteran of the Embedded Systems Industry, has joined ZigBee leader Ember as President and CEO.

Bob is the former President of Infineon Technologies North America, and is known for being sales aggressive and taking a keen interest in customer relationships. In his four years at Infineon, Bob doubled revenues from $1B to $2B while trimming operating costs to create a more efficient and disciplined organization.

Bob grew Infineon's revenues by restructuring the company to meet today's demanding system-driven market conditions. In Automotive, Bob built an aggressive and experienced Detroit-based sales team, securing over $300M in new business from Ford Motor Company and simultaneously growing business at Delphi and Daimler-Chrysler.

Seeing an experienced industry executive like Bob LeFort move from a powerhouse like Infineon to a mid-sized company like Ember is not an everyday occurrence. "I felt it was time for me to take clear ownership for a business, and Ember is a great fit for me at this point", Bob pointed out. "I have great confidence in the team they have created at Ember, the strong product offering, and the development pipeline".

Ember is a company tightly focused on the new low power ZigBee wireless networking protocol (IEEE 802.15.4), first discussed at the Embedded Systems Conferece in 2004. ZigBee targets wireless and power-miser applications such as remote battery powered sensors. Named after the zig-zag dance pattern bees use to communicate, ZigBee networks sensors that is more power efficient that any previous wireless protocol.

At leisurely transmission speeds of 20-250KB/s, ZigBee sensor nodes consisting of an Ember chip and a low power microcontroller operate off a single battery for up to two years.

"There are other inexpensive [wireless networking] solutions out there that are not completely standardized and are often unwieldy for solving the problem at hand." ZigBee, commented Bob, "fills a very big niche".

Any Ember chip needs to be teamed with a low power microcontroller to take care of housekeeping. "Ember is Microcontroller agnostic" Bob quipped. Ember shares close partnerships with microcontroller companies such as Atmel and STMicroelectronics, and Bob plans to insure that Ember continues to be "a good partner to our partners".

For the next few months, Bob feels,  "I don't see any need for short-term change". He plans to hire a full-term VP of Sales and insure that Ember maintains it's focus and business discipline

"There is a great future for Ember and I want to be a part of it."

About Ember Corporation
Ember's embedded networks enable communication among embedded microcontrollers with standards-based wireless mesh networking semiconductors and software. Ember's ZigBee chips help its customers to automate home appliances, lower energy consumption in buildings, keep borders and infrastructure secure, and control industrial processes, just to name four of the many diverse applications being developed by Ember's more than 100 customers. Spun out of MIT in 2001, Ember is headquartered in Boston Massachusetts and has its radio development center in Cambridge, England, and distributors worldwide. Ember is a lead member of the ZigBee Alliance, and its platform is the National Technical Systems' (NTS) "Golden Suite" for 802.15.4/ZigBee interoperability testing.

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ZigBee Company Ember Hires Bob LeFort as President and CEO

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