Leadership

Industry-leading expertise and experience

Executive Team

CEO

Dr. Andrew Rickman, OBE

Dr Andrew Rickman OBE is the founder and chief executive officer of Rockley Photonics.

Andrew was previously the founder, CEO and chairman of Bookham Inc., now a part of Lumentum [NASDAQ: LITE] (after its 2018 acquisition of Oclaro Inc. [NASDAQ: OCLR], which was formed in 2009 after Bookham’s merger with Avanex Inc.), one of the world’s largest photonics and fiber optics telecom component producers, headquartered in Milpitas, CA, USA. Andrew founded Bookham in 1988 and grew the company from a start-up to a FTSE100 company as CEO and latterly chaired the business through the consolidation of the telecoms industry.

More recently he was chairman of Kotura Inc., a leader in the field of silicon photonics for fiber optic communications, high performance computing and sensing applications. He was instrumental in its development and sale to Mellanox Technologies, Ltd., for $82 million in 2013.

In 2000, Andrew was named UK’s Technology and Communications Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young. Andrew has held advisory board positions with the East Asia Institute of the University of Cambridge and Applied Science and Technology Research Institute of Hong Kong. In 2011, Andrew was awarded an Honorary Professorship at SIMIT, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He was a Trustee of The Oxford Trust. He was previously a council member of the UK Government’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Andrew has a mechanical engineering degree from Imperial College, London; a PhD in silicon photonics from Surrey University, an MBA from Cranfield University and honorary doctorates from Surrey, Edinburgh Napier and Kingston Universities. He is a chartered engineer and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Physics.

He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Millennium Honors list for services to the telecommunications industry and is a winner of the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Silver medal for his outstanding contribution to British Engineering.

COO

Amit Nagra

Amit Nagra is the chief operating officer for Rockley Photonics. He is responsible for establishing and managing the internal operations, as well as the external value chain, to bring leading-edge solutions to market.

He brings experience of developing technology and processes in early stage businesses and scaling up products and organizations to meet customer demand. His broad engineering expertise includes fundamental materials and process development, devices and circuit design, industrial engineering and production engineering. In addition, he has wide ranging business experience in finance, HR, operations, M&A integration, and strategic planning.

Prior to Rockley, Amit spent almost a decade at Source Photonics, a leading optical transceiver company, most recently as EVP of operations. At Source Photonics, he was responsible for the global operations and internal manufacturing from wafers to final finished goods.

Amit was an early employee and key technical contributor at Phasebridge Inc. (acquired by Emcore), a start up involved in high-speed optical communications, and a member of technical staff at Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation, working on design of 40Gbps circuits for optical communications. He has a Ph.D. and MSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an MBA from the Anderson School of Business at UCLA.

CFO

Mahesh Karanth

Mahesh Karanth is the chief financial officer. He is responsible for leading Rockley Photonics’ finance, legal and IT teams. Mahesh is a performance-driven financial executive with extensive experience in growth-oriented technology companies. He has a proven track record in raising financing, implementing IPOs and completing complex financial transactions.

Mahesh was most recently Chief Financial Officer for Enlightened Inc., an enterprise developing advanced lighting control systems. Prior to this, he was CFO for Invensense, a pioneer in MEMS sensor technology, where he led the company’s expansion of finance, administration and operations leading up to its IPO in 2010.

Prior to Invensense, Mahesh was the CFO for Telsima, which was successfully sold to Harris Stratex Networks. During the preceding nine-year period at Compaq, Mahesh held several senior roles including M&A, treasury and corporate development. He executed five large acquisitions over that period, set up multiple international operations and filed S1 to take Japan subsidiaries public on Nikkei stock exchange. After Compaq’s acquisition by HP, he led corporate development for the customer services group and several major services acquisitions of public listed companies in India and UK. He started his career at Ernst and Young, working in Singapore, Japan and India, progressing to partner.

Mahesh holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Commerce & Finance, certifications as a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Corporate Secretary, and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Executive VP of Engineering

Ara Nazarian

Ara Nazarian, Executive VP of Engineering, is responsible for leading IC Design, Systems & Software Engineering, and the Electronics/Photonics Design Automation CAD groups.

Prior to joining Rockley, Ara held executive engineering positions at Broadcom, Marvell Semiconductor, and Western Digital. He also co-founded two start-up companies, Versifi and Peripheral Technologies. Ara is an innovative leader who has been recognized for growing and leading top talent engineering teams, and successfully developing and delivering high volume production for mobile cellular Systems on Chips (SoCs), set-top box SoCs, modems, SSDs, HDDs, power management devices and software products.

Ara has authored a technical leadership book titled “Technical Minds,” and holds more than 20 U.S. patents. He holds BSEE and MSEE degrees from California State University, Los Angeles.

Team Leaders

SVP of Product Engineering

Hooman Abediasl

Hooman Abediasl is the SVP of Product Engineering for Rockley Photonics.

Hooman brings years of experience in silicon photonics, optical sensors, and silicon photonics (SiP) sensing products. He leads a rapidly growing team responsible for all sensing product development.

Hooman has been an industry contributor for numerous years, authoring and co-authoring several articles, such as the 2015 highly cited world record demonstration and ground-breaking publication, “Monolithic optical phased-array transceiver in a standard SOI CMOS process.” He joined Rockley Photonics in 2014.

Hooman is the winner of the Nokia Bell Labs 1st prize in 2016 for his work on “Large-Scale Plasmonic Optical Phased Array – an architectural innovation for nanodevices.” He also received prestigious Annenberg Fellowship at the University of Southern California in 2010 and has been awarded numerous other honors, such as the best Ph.D. dissertation thesis of Viterbi School of Engineering in 2017.

Hooman holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California, as well as a Master of Science degree and Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Systems and Electrical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran.

SVP of Silicon Photonics Engineering

Albert Benzoni

Albert “Al” Benzoni is the SVP of Silicon Photonics Engineering for Rockley Photonics.

Al currently leads the company’s growth in the areas of Silicon PIC and III-V Device Design & Integration, including Packaging, Test, and Reliability.

Al brings over 30 years of industry, technical, and leadership experience in silicon photonics and OE engineering.

Prior to joining Rockley, Al served as VP Engineering of Silicon Photonics Development at Mellanox Technologies (acquired by Nvidia). Al held key leadership roles at Hoya Xponent (acquired), including VP of Engineering, VP of Strategic Development, and VP of Business Development. Earlier in his career, he held the role of Senior Technical Manager for Lucent Technologies and was Director OE Module Engineering at Ortel (acquired by Lucent). Al began his career as Member of Technical Staff for AT&T Bell Labs.

Al holds over 20 US issued patents and corresponding international patents. He has published multiple industry papers, presented short courses, and has been an invited speaker at industry events.

Al holds a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University and Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

SVP of Wafer Technology and Manufacturing

Sanjiv Kapoor

Sanjiv Kapoor is the SVP of Wafer Technology and Manufacturing for Rockley Photonics.

Sanjiv is responsible for the execution of the company’s Silicon Photonics process roadmap, including developing process flows, leading process development, and qualifying foundries for mass production.

Sanjiv brings over 25 years of technical and leadership experience in product development and supplier management at startups and large public companies in the area of semiconductors, clean tech, flexible electronics, and component development for defense applications.

Prior to joining Rockley, Sanjiv served as Senior Director of Foundry Operations for TDK InvenSense, where he was responsible for global foundry process development, new product launch, and mass manufacturing.

Before TDK InvenSense, Sanjiv held the role of Director of Technology Development at Lenovo MEMS systems lab, where he led Lenovo’s fingerprint sensor development group. Prior to that, Sanjiv held senior leadership positions of increasing responsibility with Bloom Energy, Fidelica Microsystems, Vitex, and WJ Communications.

Sanjiv holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University.

SVP of Integrated Circuit Design

David Nelson

David Nelson is the SVP of Integrated Circuit Design for Rockley Photonics.

Since first joining Rockley in 2015, David has been successfully leading the IC Design Team in the development of high-performance, very low-power transceiver circuits.

Prior to joining Rockley, David served as principal engineer at Intel, where he designed their next-generation products, including the high-speed transceiver chipset used in the Intel 100G silicon photonics transceiver. Prior to Intel, David designed the Light Peak product for Intel-Apple and the first 10G SFP+ transceiver chipset used by Google in high volumes. Early in his career, David was also the founder and CEO of Comlinear Corporation until it was acquired by National Semiconductor Corporation. Throughout the course of his 40-year technical career, David has held senior leadership positions with small and large companies including Cirrus Logic, Conexant Semiconductor, and PicoLight.

David holds over 20 U.S. patents, has numerous patents pending, and has been published in various technical journals.

David holds a M.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles and a B.Sc. degree in Physics from Brigham Young University.

SVP of Commercial

Roozbeh Parsa

Roozbeh Parsa is the SVP of Commercial for Rockley Photonics.

As the head of commercial team, Roozbeh leads product strategy, management, sales, marketing, and business development for Rockley’s wellness and healthcare products. He is responsible for setting product roadmap, customer sourcing, closing, and management.

Roozbeh brings over 20 years of experience in breakthrough innovations in the fields of engineering and sensor technology platform with applications in medical, navigation, and geophysical domains.

Prior to joining Rockley in 2017, Roozbeh served as General Manager, Product Line Director at Texas Instruments where he managed and directed the engineering, new business development, and marketing teams and helped define end-to-end marketing strategies, including market validation, opportunity evaluation, engagement model, pricing strategies, and creative approaches to increase net revenue. Early in his career, Roozbeh held various technical roles at cutting edge semiconductor companies.

Roozbeh has authored and co-authored over 25 U.S. patents and has been published in various technical journals.

Roozbeh holds a Ph.D. and Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

VP of Sensing Cloud and AI Product

Casimir Wierzynski

Casimir “Cas” Wierzynski is the VP of Sensing Cloud and AI Product for Rockley Photonics.

Cas leads the company’s cloud and AI product development and engineering with a focus on healthcare and wellness applications. He is responsible for defining product vision, strategy, and objectives, including driving execution cross-functionally within the broader organization.

With over 27 years of business, finance, and neuroscience experience, Cas leads highly complex technology and engineering teams to solve high-impact problems using AI. Prior to joining Rockley, Cas served as Senior Director of the AI Product Group at Intel Corporation where he led the effort to identify and incubate emerging technologies for next-generation AI systems. Prior to Intel, Cas held the role of Autonomy Lead and Neuromorphic Systems Lead at Qualcomm and was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs.

Cas holds multiple U.S. patents and patents pending in the fields of autonomous robotics, neuromorphic computing, and machine learning. Cas has also authored numerous industry articles and academic publications, including in Neuron, Optics Express, and Fortune and in leading computer science conferences.

Cas holds a Ph.D. in Computation & Neural Systems from the California Institute of Technology, a BA in Mathematics from Cambridge University, and a SB, SM, in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Cas has proficiency in multiple languages, including English, French, German and Spanish.

CTO of Photonics

Aaron Zilkie

Aaron Zilkie is the CTO of Photonics and a Co-Founder.

Aaron led the early core photonic platform development at Rockley Photonics and currently leads Rockley’s internal technology/R&D team developing novel integrated photonics technologies for high-growth product solutions. He is also responsible for the IP portfolio development.

Aaron brings over 22 years of experience and leadership in technology innovation, R&D, new product development, and IP portfolio development in a broad range of optics and photonics application areas including biosensing, healthcare monitoring, 3D imaging, LiDAR, data communications, high-performance computing, and fiber optic networks.

Prior to Rockley, Aaron served as Technical Program Manager at Kotura/Mellanox Technologies, where he led development of the silicon photonics hybrid laser technology. Prior to that, he was a Senior Optical Scientist at Oclaro, Inc., where he was lead engineer for new product introduction of a variety of optical modules and helped lead the development of new products from early phase through production ramp.

Aaron holds over 40 granted U.S. patents, has authored numerous journal publications and white papers, and has given numerous invited conference presentations on Rockley’s technology.

Aaron has a Ph.D. and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (Photonics) from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Manitoba.

VP of Global Human Resources and Office Administration

Khalilah El-Amin

Khalilah El-Amin currently oversees recruitment, talent engagement and development, compensation, benefits, compliance, office administration, and facilities.

With over 15 years of experience, Khalilah has had a dynamic management career with diverse business experience in human resources, administration, and project management.

Prior to joining Rockley, Khalilah served as director of human capital for KIPP LA Schools, a non-profit organization that operates public charter schools focused on preparing students in under-resourced communities for success in school, college, and life. Prior to KIPP, Khalilah led human resources at Fulcum Microsystems, a private, hi-tech, fabless-semiconductor company, until it was acquired by Intel Corporation in 2011.

Khalilah holds an MBA from the University of LaVerne and a BA degree from Spelman College. She also holds professional HR designations from the Human Resources Certification Institute and the Society of Human Resources Management.

Board of Directors

CEO

Dr. Andrew Rickman, OBE

Dr Andrew Rickman OBE is the founder and chief executive officer of Rockley Photonics.

Andrew was previously the founder, CEO and chairman of Bookham Inc., now a part of Lumentum [NASDAQ: LITE] (after its 2018 acquisition of Oclaro Inc. [NASDAQ: OCLR], which was formed in 2009 after Bookham’s merger with Avanex Inc.), one of the world’s largest photonics and fiber optics telecom component producers, headquartered in Milpitas, CA, USA. Andrew founded Bookham in 1988 and grew the company from a start-up to a FTSE100 company as CEO and latterly chaired the business through the consolidation of the telecoms industry.

More recently he was chairman of Kotura Inc., a leader in the field of silicon photonics for fiber optic communications, high performance computing and sensing applications. He was instrumental in its development and sale to Mellanox Technologies, Ltd., for $82 million in 2013.

In 2000, Andrew was named UK’s Technology and Communications Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young. Andrew has held advisory board positions with the East Asia Institute of the University of Cambridge and Applied Science and Technology Research Institute of Hong Kong. In 2011, Andrew was awarded an Honorary Professorship at SIMIT, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He was a Trustee of The Oxford Trust. He was previously a council member of the UK Government’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Andrew has a mechanical engineering degree from Imperial College, London; a PhD in silicon photonics from Surrey University, an MBA from Cranfield University and honorary doctorates from Surrey, Edinburgh Napier and Kingston Universities. He is a chartered engineer and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Physics.

He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Millennium Honors list for services to the telecommunications industry and is a winner of the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Silver medal for his outstanding contribution to British Engineering.

Board Member

William Huyett

Bill Huyett is director emeritus of McKinsey and Company, Inc., where he spent 30 years serving global clients in biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, industrial, and other technology-intensive companies. His transaction experience across companies ranging in size from $100M market cap to $200B market cap includes mergers, spin-outs, IPOs, and licensing. He led the firm’s strategy and corporate finance practice and served on the firm’s board. He is a co-author of Value, a text on corporate finance for CEOs, CFOs, and boards, published by John Wiley & Sons in 2011.

Subsequent to his retirement from McKinsey, he became the chief financial officer of Cyclerion Therapeutics (CYCN), a NASDAQ-listed biopharmaceutical company in Cambridge, MA. CYCN was spun out of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, where he had been the chief operating officer.

He was, until the company’s merger in August 2020, non-executive board chair of Georgia Healthcare Group, Georgia’s leading healthcare services company (listed on the London Stock Exchange).

Earlier in his career, Bill held a variety of line management positions in the automation industry with Rockwell/Allen-Bradley. His degrees in electronics engineering and business are from the University of Virginia. He also serves on the boards of Rockefeller University and the Marine Biological Laboratory.

Board Member

Dr. Caroline Brown

Caroline Brown is an independent director and chairs the audit committee of the board, having joined Rockley Photonics in January 2019. She has over 20 years main board experience and an early career with BAML, UBS, and HSBC, advising global corporations and governments on capital markets and mergers and acquisitions.

Caroline also currently sits on three London-listed public company boards: IP Group plc, a FTSE250 business commercializing intellectual property in life sciences and technology; Georgia Capital plc, a listed private equity firm which owns the largest healthcare services business in Georgia; and Luceco plc, an industrial technology manufacturing business.

Caroline is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and holds a first-class degree and Ph.D. in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, and an MBA from the Case Business School, University of London.

Board Member

Brian Blaser

Brian Blaser retired from Abbott Laboratories in 2019, having served as executive vice president of diagnostic products since June 1, 2012. Prior to that, he held a number of senior and corporate roles in operations and strategy at Abbott from 2004.

He has over 25 years of experience in the in-vitro diagnostics industry, leading global organizations of significant scale and complexity, and has a proven ability to define business strategy and implement difficult change programs that drive growth, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the University of Dayton and Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Board Member

Karim Karti

Karim Karti is chair of Med Tech Acquisitions corporation. He has also been a consultant to Rockley advising on digital healthcare. Previously, he was COO of iRhythm Technologies, a digital health company.

Prior to that, he was with General Electric for 22 years. He successfully led multiple GE healthcare businesses across the globe. He was chief marketing officer for the entire $20B GE Healthcare division before being President & CEO of the $9B GE Healthcare Imaging business, where he drove a step change in growth, profitability, and innovation.

Karim graduated from École Centrale de Lyon and completed the entrepreneurship program of École Supérieure de Commerce de Lyon.

Board Member

Michele Klein

Michele was senior director of Applied Ventures LLC, the venture capital arm of Applied Materials. From 2005-2010, she led investments in energy storage, solar energy, and optical metrology, and she represented Applied on the boards of seven start-up technology companies, including Enphase Energy, Inc.

She was CEO of Boxer Cross from 1997-2003, when it was acquired by Applied Materials, and led the team within its Process and Diagnostics Control business group from 2003-2005. She led the in-situ metrology pioneer, High Yield Technology (HYT), from 1986 until its acquisition in 1996 by Pacific Scientific (NYSE:DHR).

She has a BS from the University of Illinois and MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Board Member

Dr. Pamela Puryear

Pamela Puryear is EVP of Global HR at Walgreen Boots. Previously, she was a senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Zimmer Biomet and senior vice president and chief talent officer at Pfizer. She began her career in financial services, after which she ran an independent organization development consulting practice, working with clients in financial services, healthcare, professional services, consumer products, insurance, and education.

Pamela has a BA degree in psychology from Yale University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a Ph.D. in organizational psychology from California School of Professional Psychology.