Enphase Energy, Inc. (Nasdaq: ENPH), Petaluma-based maker of solar microinverters and battery systems, on Sept. 6 reported it promoted its operations chief to president and CEO.
The board of directors appointed Badri Kothandaraman to the CEO position as well as to the board. He succeeds founder Paul Nahi, who resigned from the top spot and from the board, effective Aug. 8. Kothandaraman, 45, has been COO since April.
In January 2017, Enphase Energy received an investment totaling $10 million from John Doerr, chairman of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, and Thurman J. Rodgers, founder and former CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, a chip maker. The shares were purchased for about $1 a share. Rodgers also joined the board.
New Enphase CEO Kothandaraman worked 21 years at Cypress Semiconductor until he left in September. For the previous five years he served as executive vice president for the 600-employee Data Communications division, which focused on USB 3.0 USB-C and Internet of Things products. He also ran Cypress’s 700-employee India business for the last four years of his service.
With Kothandaraman's appointment to the board and CEO position at Enphase Energy, there are two former executives from Cypress with leading positions at Enphase Energy. The board has six members. Rodgers, based in Woodside, in May acquired options giving him the right to buy, expiring May 2024, 111,052 shares of common stock at a price of 70 cents a share.
Enphase Energy’s stock price has fallen precipitously since September 2014, when it sparkled at $16.85 a share. On Sept. 7 the stock traded at $1.20. For the six months ended June 30, 2017, the company’s net loss per share was 44 cents. Enphase lost $35.4 million in the first six months of 2017, and on June 30 had accumulated deficit of nearly $286 million.
In January 2017, Enphase cut its workforce by 18 percent, roughly 75 jobs. “These actions are necessary to create a near-term path to sustained profitability,” Nahi said then. A previous layoff occurred a few months earlier in the third quarter of 2016. The company now has about 190 employees in Petaluma.
Kothandaraman joined Enphase in April as chief operating officer. He worked 21 years at Silicon Valley chip maker Cypress Semiconductor until he left in September.
With a B.Tech degree from IIT Madras and an M.S. degree in materials science from University of California, Berkeley, he joined Cypress in 1995 and worked in process-technology development and chip design before becoming vice president of the Asynchronous SRAM business in 2008.
"The board determined Badri's ability to connect people, vision and ideas to drive strategy and execution make him an ideal fit for his new role at Enphase,” the company said in a statement. “We are confident he will help to lead Enphase through its next growth phase and reach its full potential in a rapidly changing solar industry."
Kothandaraman attended the Stanford Executive Program in 2008 and holds eight U.S. patents. Last December, he started InnoCharge Solutions, which aims to make “smart” mobile-computing accessories based on his work with USB-C and charging technologies.
“Enphase has an outstanding reputation for technology innovation and quality, and we are pleased with the ongoing rollout of our IQ platform and the Enphase Energized AC Module products,” Kothandaraman said in a statement.