Intel's Eric Kim Clears out His Desk, Joins Low-key Startup

Eric Kim, the senior vice president in charge of Intel's Digital Home Group, is stepping down to run a start-up company that is developing solid-state lighting technology .

Kim will take over as president and CEO of Soraa effective on July 6, the startup said in a statement. Little information about Soraa is available on the company's Web site, saying only that it was founded in 2008 to commercialize "innovative devices based on novel non-polar and semi-polar gallium nitride," a material that can be used to make LEDs and lasers.

Soraa executives were not available to comment at the time of writing. While precise details of Soraa's work wasn't available, there are several clues to its focus.

One of the company's founders is Shuji Nakamura, a Japanese researcher credited with the invention of blue LED technology. In addition, Soraa was credited for its work on low-cost production of more efficient LEDs last year by Momentive Performance Materials, which won a US$4.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to continue development of the technology.

Kim, who was an executive vice president at Samsung Electronics before joining Intel in 2004 as its chief marketing officer, was one of two currently serving senior Intel executives hired from outside the company. The rest of Intel's senior executives worked their way up the corporate ladder during careers at the company spanning 20 years or more.

Besides Kim, the other senior Intel executive hired from outside the company is Doug Melamed, senior vice president and general counsel at the company. Melamed joined Intel in 2009, having previously served as a partner at WilmerHale, a law firm in Washington, D.C. He also served in the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust division between 1996 and 2001.

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