Lux catches up with Nick Farraway in his first month in the newly-created post of Vice President and General Manager for Cree Lighting EMEA. Expect new products as Cree sets sights on expansion beyond US.
The industry is going through dramatic change
The legacy lighting companies, the Thorns, the Philips, the Osrams, are having to struggle with technology transition. They have to adapt to new LED technology at the same time as do something with old lighting technologies, looking inwards and closing factories. Meanwhile, great technology companies are coming into the market and creating a real stir with their innovations. And the biggest and best of the lot is Cree. We are one of the top three lighting companies in the US, showing consistent year-on-year growth and reinventing the sector in many ways.
Lack of penetration in Europe
It’s a great opportunity for me to bring such an innovative, aspirational and forward-thinking brand into Europe. It’s a great personal challenge and one that I want to be involved with. I used to say that I had the best job in the world at Soraa [Farraway was senior vice president, head of international] but this was an easy decision to make. Cree has grown greatly in the US, but recognises that there is a world outside the States and now is the time to seriously consider it.
My appointment is a statement of intent by Cree
We are very clear that the EMEA is very different to the US. Up until now, Cree has been taking products made in the US and modifying them for the EMEA market. Going forward, we are going to have to do something more strategic than that. I’m only a few weeks into the job and we are still putting together a strategy but some early things will be obvious. We do streetlighting very well, but there are other sectors we will be looking at: commercial offices and industrial applications, for example. Geographically, we will be looking to get critical mass in key markets: Italy, where we are historically strong because of the Ruud acquisition, and my home market the UK. Then we will take a look at France, Germany and Spain. We will also be looking at the Middle East where we have a good partner in Ruud Arabia.
Sometime soon we will get to the bottom of the market
New entrants in the market, particularly the Chinese, have created the race to the bottom in terms of price. Chip prices continue to tumble and will go down a little more I expect, but in terms of the percentage of the cost of the fixture, the chip is less than 20% nowadays so its impact is becoming less and less. We will get to the bottom in terms of price and then the industry can get back to selling products on their benefits and attributes. My background is in selling value-added solutions to people who want to buy quality products and I’m really looking forward to seeing the pendulum swing back towards that. We are employing some of the best talent in the industry to design our fixtures and, as we make our chips ourselves, Cree’s solutions are fully integrated.
Cree was recently named among this year’s Global Hotlist of lighting companies that are setting the pulse of the market.
Check out Cree’s solutions for yourself at LuxLive on 18-19 November. Products on show will include the Cree CXB Series, the low-bay/high-bay luminaire said to offer the highest lumens per euro among competing LED luminaires available today. Cree claims it is the ideal one-for-one replacement of 250 W and 400 HID luminaires and multi-lamp fluorescent low-bay and high-bay fixtures in industrial applications, sport facilities and shopping malls. Visit Cree at stand H44.
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