Industry-leading expertise and experience

Executive Team


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.


Amit Nagra

Amit Nagra is the chief operating officer for Rockley Photonics. He is responsible for leading core IP, device and chip design, and process development in the areas of silicon photonics and analog and mixed-signal electronics. He is responsible for establishing and managing the internal operations, as well as the external value chain, to bring leading-edge solutions to market. Amit also leads the human resources, facilities and administration teams.

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.


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 the design and development of Transceivers, OptoASIC, Sensors, and 3D imaging/Lidar components and systems.

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.


Vafa Jamali

With over 25 years of experience in the medical device industry, Vafa Jamali has extensive knowledge in the fields of gastroenterology, minimally invasive surgery, respiratory care, pharmacy automation, infusion systems, and medical device distribution.

Vafa recently served as Senior Vice President and President of Respiratory, Gastrointestinal & Informatics (RGI) at Medtronic, responsible for the strategic direction and global leadership of a $2.5B business, which includes Patient Monitoring (PM), Respiratory Intervention (RI), and Gastrointestinal and Hepatology (GIH).

Before leading the RGI business, he served as Senior Vice President and President of Early Technologies at Medtronic. Prior to Medtronic, Vafa held leadership roles at Covidien Canada, Cardinal Health, and Baxter.

Board of Directors

Board Member

Caroline Brown

Caroline Brown is a member of the board of directors and chair of the audit committee. She has served as senior independent director and audit chair for several AIM businesses and currently holds several non-executive directorships. She has over 18 years of experience in driving strategic growth and leading high performing teams in the technology and professional services sectors, including roles with Merrill Lynch (New York), UBS, and HSBC.

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

Board Member

Markku Hirvonen

Markku Hirvonen is a member of the board for Rockley Photonics. He brings significant high tech and industrial hands-on experience as a result of working in executive teams for multinational corporations, including Nokia. He also brings valuable experience from developing VTI Technologies into one of the most highly valued MEMS sensor companies. He is currently working intensively across the Finnish high-tech industry and with a number of start-ups.

He holds several other positions, including entrepreneur and chief executive of Hirvonenventures Oy since 2013; member of the board of Safera Oy; member of the advisory board for Gorilla Acceleration Fund and industrial advisor in EQT’s Industrial Network.

Markku was president and CEO of VTI Technologies Oy (now Murata Electronics Oy) from 2007-2013. During that time, he led the company renewal process, making the company profitable again and leading it to a successful exit. The company was sold in 2011 to Murata Manufacturing for an enterprise value of EUR 195 million.

Overall, he has more than 30 years’ experience working with international high-tech businesses, including executive positions with Nokia and Fujitsu Siemens Computers.

Markku graduated in 1986 with a B.Sc. in Telecommunications. He studied International Business in the Ashridge Management College, UK, during 1995 – 1996.

Board Member

Jianqiang Ma

As a recognized leader is his field, Jianqiang has served as the general manager at Hengxin Semitech. Prior to Hengxin, he worked at the Hengtong Group for twelve years, where he held several senior leadership and engineering positions, including vice president or general manager for a number of different divisions.

Jianqiang holds a Bachelor’s degree in computer science from Nanjing University, a Master’s degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from the University of Science and Technology of China, and an Executive Master of Business (EMBA) degree from the Harbin Institute of Technology.

Board Member

Andy Parker

Andy Parker is the Science Partner at Ahren Innovation Capital and CERN Leader. Also, at Cambridge University, he is Head of the Cavendish Laboratory, Professor of High Energy Physics, and the Head of the Physics Department. He is an expert in high energy physics, extra space dimensions, quantum-sized black holes, and supersymmetry, with over 500 publications to his name.

He is a founder of the ATLAS experiment for the Large Hadron Collider and has commercially developed silicon detectors, fast electronics, large software systems, and pattern recognition, and he has pioneered computational radiotherapy and artificial photosynthesis. Andy’s awards include the Pilkington Prize for excellence.

Board Member

Robert Rickman

Robert Rickman brings to the board experience building early stage businesses and, as a director of several established companies, he is pivotal in facilitating success. His knowledge spans a wide range of industries, countries, management, shareholder and capital structures.

He has been a director of the London listed Schroder UK Midcap Investment Trust since 2011. He is currently a director of a number of private companies, including a fund investing in Chinese technology businesses and a company providing investment management and third-party advisory services in China.

From 2012 to 2017 he was director and chairman of the remunerations committee of Carclo plc, a London listed diversified engineering company with operations worldwide. Robert was a director of London quoted Cambium Global Timberland Ltd from 2007 to 2014. He was a director of Highland Timber plc, also listed in London from 2001 to 2007. From 1994 to 2004 he was a director of Bookham Technology PLC, during which time the silicon photonics company went from start up to listed in the FTSE 100, and on Nasdaq, with operations Worldwide. From 1983 to 1999 he was a director of FIM Services Ltd a specialist fund management business. He is an associate of the Said Business School of Oxford University and has M.A. and M.Sc. degrees from Oxford.

Board Member

Sunit Rikhi

Sunit Rikhi joined the board of Rockley Photonics in August, 2017. He also serves as an executive consultant to the company’s management. Sunit brings 35 years of semiconductor industry experience to help Rockley Photonics strengthen its organization, scale its silicon photonics process and build strategic relationships within the industry.

Until 2015, Sunit was Vice President and General Manager of Intel Custom Foundry, a business he pioneered in 2008 to serve fabless design companies with Intel’s leading-edge manufacturing technologies. In his 31-year Intel career, Sunit led several other transformational initiatives including designing the industry’s first hierarchical layout verification system, pioneering the fully automated 300mm silicon wafer manufacturing systems, and building computational lithography capability for sub-90nm Moore’s Law scaling.

After leaving Intel, Sunit co-founded yoR Labs Inc., a medical imaging solutions company. He serves as the company’s chief strategy officer and board member.

Sunit is a board member of the Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute (cc-TDI), a non-profit on a mission to make childhood cancer universally survivable, by translating scientific discovery into clinical trials.

In 2015, Sunit founded Reach for Infinity LLC, through which he channels his passion for management development and coaching.

Sunit is a graduate of University of Washington (MSEE) and Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BSEE).

Advisor to the Board

John Burgess

John Burgess brings extensive experience to the board regarding legal and organizational issues faced by growing technology companies, including raising capital, completing mergers and acquisitions and international operations.

John practised law at the global firm of WilmerHale for over 37 years. During that time, he represented clients in matters focusing on securities law, including public and private securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, licensing and strategic partnerships. He also advised on a range of international matters, including public and private placements for overseas issuers, inward and outward bound acquisition transactions, and distribution and licensing arrangements.

He handled more than 100 IPOs and follow-on offerings for both U.S. and foreign issuers. John was named one of the top five IPO lawyers in the United States in 2000 by the IPO Reporter, was regularly listed in “Best Lawyers in America” and in 2014 was named “Capital Markets Lawyer of the Year” in Boston. Throughout the period, he focused on representing high technology clients including hardware, software, design tool and communications companies.

After retiring, he joined the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University as Professor of Practice. A graduate of Yale University (B.A. in history, summa cum laude) and Harvard Law School (JD, cum laude), he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Fellow of Branford College at Yale University, and former President of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. He has lectured on international mergers and securities law at the University of Iowa and Peking University School of Transnational Law. He is a permanent lecturer at St. Gallen University in Switzerland.