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(Image courtesy of Soitec).

Peregrine Semiconductor Further Fills Out Executive Ranks

Peregrine Semiconductor shuffled its executive deck the second time this year, creating two roles to guide its silicon strategy for front-ends inside smartphones and other wireless gadgets.

On Tuesday, the company announced its new vice president of engineering, Keith Bargoff, who oversaw Peregrine's technology platforms the last two years. It has also hired Sumit Tomar, a former general manager of Qorvo's wireless infrastructure business, as vice president of product marketing.

The new hires follow another series of executive edits. In March, Peregrine hired Stefan Wolff, former head of Intel's mobile communications business, to be chief executive. James Cable, the former chief, slid into the chief technology officer role and also became global director of research and development at Peregrine's parent Murata.

At the same time, Dylan Kelly assumed the chief operating officer role after six years as general manager of Peregrine's mobile wireless solutions business. He said in a statement on Tuesday that Peregrine's growing roster of engineers and products required a new leadership structure.

Taken together, the recent executive changes are among the biggest since Murata paid $471 million for Peregrine's business in 2014. It was a sizable bet on the company's silicon-on-insulator products - more commonly called RF SOI - which can compress the growing complexity of wireless parts that handle a wider range of frequency bands.

These chips involve bonding silicon to both sides of an insulator to reduce parasitic capacitance, allowing power amplifiers and wireless filters to be etched on the same front-end device. That results in cheaper and smaller chips, which have slowly chipped away at the hegemony of gallium arsenide (GaAs) at higher frequencies in smartphone and aerospace applications.

Others are also betting on the technology. GlobalFoundries, one of the biggest contractors for manufacturing chips, said in February that it would start accepting orders for its latest RF SOI manufacturing process. Last year, Soitec began baking RF SOI wafers measuring 300 millimeters, up from the 200mm wafers that it had previously sold to foundries like TowerJazz and TSMC.

Soitec says that more than 20 billion chips struck from its RF SOI wafers have been sold worldwide.

Kelly, Peregrine's chief operating officer, said that the company has "aggressive" plans for growth and is now looking to fill 35 new engineering jobs. In February, it opened a 13-person development center in Austin, Texas.

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