ClearEdge regroups with layoff, new execs
By Erik Siemers
ClearEdge Power is regrouping with new executives and a smaller workforce as the company focuses on solving some of the problems customers encountered with its fuel cell design.
Fast-rising fuel-cell manufacturer ClearEdge Power Inc. in recent months has changed its top executive, ceased shipping products and cut its workforce by nearly half.
The developments provide a divergent narrative for a Hillsboro company that just over a year ago closed a $73.5 million funding round, landed a deal in January that could produce up to $500 million in revenue to supply fuel cells in Europe, and for months has been talking about a potential initial public offering.
Yet ClearEdge’s new CEO and its largest customer contend that the future for the company is still bright.
“Some of the major relationships we have are doing well,” said David B. Wright, who took over as CEO from Russell Ford in July. “Our customer base is still excited and our backlog is very firm.”
ClearEdge is a manufacturer of fuel cells that transform natural gas to heat and electricity to power large homes, small commercial businesses or public buildings.
Wright began working with ClearEdge a year ago at the request of its largest investor, Silicon Valley-based Jim Kohlberg, who asked him to look at identifying markets for the fuel cell technology.
Wright is a former Silicon Valley tech executive, most recently with Sunnyvale, Calif.-based GridIron Systems, a company that improves data center performance, and San Diego-based Verari Systems Inc., a developer of blade servers and storage systems.
After about a month of studying the business, he was asked to join the board last October and then became executive chairman in March.
It was at that point that ClearEdge decided to put a halt to most of its product shipments.
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