PARIS — CEA-Leti, one of the largest micro- and nanotechnologies research institutes in Europe, lost its head recently, but recovered by naming Emmanuel Sabonnadiere as CEO, succeeding Marie-Noëlle Semeria.
CEA-Leti has provided no explanation of Semeria’s contract non-renewal. Late last month, CEA-Leti’s CEO from 2014 to 2017, announced her decision to take a position as CTO of Total, a French multinational integrated oil and gas company.
Sabonnadiere joins Leti from CEA Tech, where he led the industrial-partnership program. Leti touted Sabonnadiere’s “strong background in new-technology development” and “broad private-sector expertise” as qualifications critical to multicultural organizations like Leti pursuing business transformation in Europe and globally.
Leti, which employs 1,900 scientists and engineers, has been increasingly active in bridging two worlds — the more traditional European R&D institutions focused on deep technology development and newer commercial enterprises in the global market that need deep technologies to rapidly enable their ambitious agendas.
With a portfolio of 2,700 patents, Leti has launched more than 60 startups thus far.
In a statement, Sabonnadiere said, “Success in today’s demanding international digital landscape requires a combination of deep technological expertise, advanced platforms, a commitment to customer and partner success and a shared excitement and agility about the new opportunities.”
He explained, “This is where Leti is today, and I am very excited to join this world-class team to develop the solutions that will bring digital innovations to the benefit of leading technology companies around the world.”
Most notable in Sabonnadiere’s resume is his wealth of executive experience at several European enterprises.
Prior to joining CEA, Sabonnadiere was CEO of the Philips Lighting’s Business Group Professional in Amsterdam. From 2008 to 2014, he was CEO and chairman of General Cable Europe in Barcelona, and from 2005 to 2008 he served as CEO of NKM Noell in Wurzburg, Germany. Before that, he served as vice president of Alstom T&D for five years. Early in his career, he held multiple positions at Schneider Electric, including managing director of development for equipment units.
Sabonnadiere holds a Ph.D. in physics from the Ecole Centrale de Lyon, an MBA degree from Ecole Supérieure des Affaires de Grenoble and an engineering degree in information technology from the Université Technologie Compiègne.
Prior to the announcement of the new CEA-Leti CEO Tuesday, EE Times had a brief email exchange with Semeria. Speaking of her new position at Total, she wrote: “Exploring the new world of energy and taking the challenge of the big transition to renewable energies and of digital transformation is a new turn in my career.”
Indeed, for Semeria, the move marks “a comeback to industry after 22 years in Leti and in public research.” She resolutely expressed her enthusiasm to the new job, calling it “a new challenge.”
Although Semeria’s contract with CEA-Leti lasted only three years, she made key contributions to the 50-year old French laboratory institute.
Among her achievements are a new model of cooperation among CEA Tech, universities, and the National Center for Scientific Research in clusters of projects while strengthening the pre-industrialization phase. She also promoted a culture of entrepreneurship within Leti and CEA Tech, while forging strategic partnerships with commercial enterprises based beyond the French border.
During Semeria’s term, CEA-Leti signed an R&D agreement with Intel, with a plan for Leti to provide technologies that enable next-generation communication — one order of magnitude faster — for the Internet of Things. CEA-Leti also became a partner to the Stanford SystemX Alliance.
This past June, CEA-Leti announced an agreement to work with the Fraunhofer Group (Berlin), aligning their microelectronics innovation agenda in Europe. At the time of the announcement, Semeria told reporters, “By putting European large projects under a single roof, we can go faster [with our R&D], together.”
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times