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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
    
SCHEDULE 14A
Proxy Statement Pursuant to Section 14(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Amendment No.
)

Filed by the Registrant    x
Filed by a Party other than the Registrant    ¨

Check the appropriate box:
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¨    Confidential, for use of the Commission Only (as permitted by Rule 14a-6(e)(2))
x    Definitive Proxy Statement
¨    Definitive Additional Materials
¨    Soliciting Material Pursuant to §240.14a-12
CREE, INC.
(Name of Registrant as Specified In Its Charter)
N/A
(Name of Person(s) Filing Proxy Statement, if other than the Registrant)
Payment of Filing Fee (Check the appropriate box):

x    No fee required.

¨    Fee computed on table below per Exchange Act Rules 14a-6(i)(1) and 0-11.
 
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_________________________________________________________________

NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS
_________________________________________________________________

To the Shareholders of Cree, Inc.:

The 2019 Annual Meeting of Shareholders of Cree, Inc. will be held at the offices of the corporation in Customer Center 6, 4408 Silicon Drive, Durham, North Carolina 27703, on Monday, October 28, 2019, at 12:00 p.m. local time, to consider and vote upon the following matters and to transact such other business as may be properly brought before the meeting:
Proposal No. 1—Election of eight directors
Proposal No. 2—Ratification of the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as independent auditors for the fiscal year ending June 28, 2020
Proposal No. 3—Advisory (nonbinding) vote to approve executive compensation
All shareholders are invited to attend the meeting in person. Only shareholders of record at the close of business on August 30, 2019 are entitled to notice of and to vote at the meeting.
By order of the Board of Directors,

Bradley D. Kohn
Secretary
Durham, North Carolina
September 10, 2019

PLEASE NOTE:

We are primarily providing access to our proxy materials over the Internet pursuant to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s “notice and access” rules. Beginning on or about September 16, 2019, we expect to mail to our shareholders a Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials, which will indicate how to access our 2019 Proxy Statement and 2019 Annual Report on the Internet. The Notice also includes instructions on how you can receive a paper copy of your annual meeting materials, including the notice of annual meeting, proxy statement and proxy card.
Whether or not you plan to attend the meeting in person, please submit voting instructions for your shares promptly using the directions on your Notice or, if you elected to receive printed proxy materials by mail, your proxy card, to vote by one of the following methods: (1) over the Internet, by accessing the website address www.proxyvote.com; (2) by telephone, by calling the toll-free telephone number 1-800-690-6903; or (3) if you elected to receive printed proxy materials by mail, by marking, dating and signing your proxy card and returning it in the accompanying postage-paid envelope.


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CREE, INC.
____________________
PROXY STATEMENT
____________________

2019 PROXY SUMMARY

This summary highlights information contained in this proxy statement. The summary does not contain all of the information that you should consider; please read the entire proxy statement carefully before voting.
Annual Meeting of Shareholders

Place: Cree, Inc. offices in Customer Center 6, 4408 Silicon Drive, Durham, North Carolina 27703
 
Date and time: Monday, October 28, 2019, at 12:00 p.m.
 
Record Date: August 30, 2019
 
Approximate Date of Availability of Proxy Materials: September 16, 2019
 
Voting: Shareholders as of the record date are entitled to vote. Each share of common stock is entitled to vote for each director nominee and to one vote for each of the other proposals to be voted on.
 
 
 
Voting matters and Board recommendations
Election of eight directors (FOR THE NOMINEES)
 
Ratification of the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as our independent auditors for the fiscal year ending June 28, 2020 (FOR)
 
Advisory (nonbinding) vote to approve executive compensation (FOR)
 
 
 
Board nominees

John C. Hodge. Founding Partner of Rubicon Technology Partners. Cree Director since 2018.
 
Clyde R. Hosein. Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Automation Anywhere, Inc. Cree Director since 2005.
 
Darren R. Jackson. Former Board Member and Chief Executive Officer of Advance Auto Parts, Inc. Cree Director since 2016.
 
Duy-Loan T. Le. President of DLE Management Consulting LLC. Cree Director since 2018.
 
Gregg A. Lowe. Cree, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer. Cree Director since 2017.
 
John B. Replogle. Founding Partner of One Better Ventures, LLC. Cree Director since 2014.
 
Thomas H. Werner. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SunPower Corporation. Cree Director since 2006.
 
Anne C. Whitaker. Chief Executive Officer of Dance Biopharm Holdings, Inc. Cree Director since 2013.


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Executive officers at end of fiscal year
Gregg A. Lowe, President and Chief Executive Officer
 
Neill P. Reynolds, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Independent auditors
 
Although not required, we ask shareholders to ratify the selection of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as our independent auditors for our fiscal year ending June 28, 2020. Our Board of Directors recommends a FOR vote.
 
 
 
Advisory (nonbinding) vote to approve executive compensation
 
Annually, our shareholders consider and vote on the compensation of our named executive officers on an advisory (nonbinding) basis. Our Board of Directors recommends a FOR vote.



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MEETING INFORMATION

The Board of Directors of Cree, Inc. (“Cree” or the “Company”) is asking for your proxy for use at the 2019 Annual Meeting of Shareholders and any adjournments of the meeting. The meeting will be held at our offices in Customer Center 6, 4408 Silicon Drive, Durham, North Carolina 27703, on Monday, October 28, 2019, at 12:00 p.m. local time, to conduct the following business and such other business as may be properly brought before the meeting: (1) election of the eight directors listed in this proxy statement; (2) ratification of the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as our independent auditors for the fiscal year ending June 28, 2020; and (3) advisory (nonbinding) vote to approve executive compensation.
  
The Board of Directors recommends that you vote FOR the election of the director nominees listed in this proxy statement, FOR ratification of the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as our independent auditors for the fiscal year ending June 28, 2020, and FOR the advisory (nonbinding) vote to approve executive compensation.
  
Beginning on or about September 16, 2019, proxy materials for the annual meeting, including this proxy statement and our 2019 Annual Report, are being made available to shareholders entitled to vote at the annual meeting. The Annual Report is not part of our proxy soliciting materials.
  
Important Notice Regarding the Availability of Proxy Materials
For the Shareholder Meeting to Be Held on October 28, 2019:

The Annual Report and proxy statement will be available on the Internet at
www.cree.com/annualmeeting.
  
Pursuant to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s “Notice and Access” rules, we are furnishing proxy materials to our shareholders primarily via the Internet. Beginning on or about September 16, 2019, we intend to mail to our shareholders a Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials, or Notice, containing instructions on how to access our proxy materials on the Internet, including our proxy statement and our Annual Report. The Notice also instructs you on how you can vote using the Internet and by telephone. Other shareholders, in accordance with their prior requests, have received e-mail notification of how to access our proxy materials and vote via the Internet or by telephone, or have been mailed paper copies of our proxy materials and a proxy card or voting form.
  
Internet distribution of our proxy materials is designed to expedite receipt by shareholders, lower the cost of the annual meeting, and conserve natural resources. If, however, you would prefer to receive printed proxy materials, please follow the instructions included in the Notice. If you have previously elected to receive our proxy materials electronically, you will continue to receive these materials via e-mail unless you elect otherwise.

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VOTING PROCEDURES
Who Can Vote
Only shareholders of record of the Company at the close of business on August 30, 2019 are entitled to vote at the meeting and any adjournments of the meeting. At that time, there were 107,027,799 shares of the Company’s common stock outstanding, each of which is entitled to one vote on each matter submitted to a vote at the meeting.
How You Can Vote
You may vote shares by proxy or in person using one of the following methods:
Voting by Internet. You can vote over the Internet by following the directions on your Notice to access the website address at www.proxyvote.com. The deadline for voting over the Internet is Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.
Voting by Telephone. You can vote by calling the toll-free telephone number at 1-800-690-6903. The deadline for voting by telephone is Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.
Voting by Mail. If you requested printed proxy materials, you can vote by completing and returning your signed proxy card. To vote using your proxy card, please mark, date and sign the card and return it by mail in the accompanying postage-paid envelope. You should mail your signed proxy card sufficiently in advance for it to be received by Sunday, October 27, 2019.
Voting in Person. You can vote in person at the meeting if you are the record owner of the shares to be voted. You can also vote in person at the meeting if you present a properly signed proxy that authorizes you to vote shares on behalf of the record owner. If a broker, bank, custodian or other nominee holds your shares, to vote in person at the meeting you must present a letter or other proxy appointment, signed on behalf of the broker or nominee, granting you authority to vote the shares.
How You Can Revoke Your Proxy and Change Your Vote
You can revoke your proxy and change your vote by (1) attending the meeting and voting in person; (2) delivering written notice of revocation of your proxy to the Secretary at any time before voting is closed; (3) timely submitting new voting instructions by telephone or over the Internet as described above; or (4) if you requested printed proxy materials, timely submitting a signed proxy card bearing a later date.
How Your Proxy Will Be Voted
If you timely submit your proxy over the Internet, by telephone, or by proxy card as described above and have not revoked it, your shares will be voted or withheld from voting in accordance with the voting instructions you gave. If you timely submit your proxy as described above without giving voting instructions, your shares will be voted FOR the election of the director nominees listed in this proxy statement, FOR ratification of the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the Company’s independent auditors for the fiscal year ending June 28, 2020, and FOR the advisory (nonbinding) vote to approve executive compensation.
How You Can Vote Shares Held by a Broker or Other Nominee
If a broker, bank, custodian or other nominee holds your shares, you may have received a notice or voting instruction form from them. Please follow the directions that your broker, bank, custodian or other nominee provides or contact the firm to determine the voting methods available to you. Brokers are no longer permitted to vote in the election of directors (and many other matters, including Proposal 3) if the broker has not received instructions from the beneficial owner of shares. It is particularly important, if you are a beneficial owner, that you instruct your broker how you wish to vote your shares because brokers will have discretionary voting authority only with respect to Proposal 2 if you do not instruct your broker how you wish to vote your shares.

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Quorum Required
A quorum must be present at the meeting before business can be conducted. A quorum will be present if a majority of the shares entitled to vote are represented in person or by proxy at the meeting. Shares represented by a proxy with instructions to withhold authority to vote or to abstain from voting on any matter will be considered present for purposes of determining the existence of a quorum. Shares represented by a proxy as to which a broker, bank, custodian or other nominee has indicated that it does not have discretionary authority to vote on certain matters (sometimes referred to as “broker non-votes”) will also be considered present for purposes of determining the existence of a quorum.
Vote Required
Proposal 1 (Election of Directors). Directors will be elected by a plurality of the votes cast. The eight nominees who receive the most votes will be elected to fill the available positions. Shareholders do not have the right to vote cumulatively in electing directors. Withholding authority in your proxy to vote for a nominee will result in the nominee receiving fewer votes.
As set forth in the Corporate Governance Principles adopted by the Board of Directors, except in cases when there are more nominees than available seats, if a nominee elected to the Board by plurality vote received a number of “withhold” votes that is greater than 50% of all votes cast with respect to that nominee, the nominee shall tender the nominee’s resignation from the Board in writing to the Chairman prior to the first regular meeting of the Board that follows the meeting of shareholders at which the election was held and any meeting of the Board held in connection with it. The resignation will be effective if and when it is accepted by the Board. Promptly after the Board reaches a decision, the Company will publicly disclose the action taken by the Board regarding the director’s tendered resignation.
Proposal 2 (Ratification of Appointment of Auditors). The proposed ratification of the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the Company’s independent auditors for fiscal 2020 will be approved if the votes cast for approval exceed the votes cast against approval. Although shareholder ratification of the appointment is not required by law or the Company’s Bylaws, the Audit Committee has determined that, as a matter of corporate governance, the selection of independent auditors should be submitted to the shareholders for ratification. If the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP is not ratified by a majority of the votes cast at the 2019 Annual Meeting, the Audit Committee will consider the appointment of other independent auditors for subsequent fiscal years. Even if the appointment is ratified, the Audit Committee may change the appointment at any time during the year if it determines that the change would be in the Company’s best interest and the best interests of the shareholders.
Proposal 3 (Advisory (Nonbinding) Vote to Approve Executive Compensation). With respect to the advisory (nonbinding) vote to approve executive compensation, the executive compensation will be approved if the votes cast for approval exceed the votes cast against approval. Because your vote to approve executive compensation is advisory, it will not be binding upon the Board of Directors, it will not overrule any decision by the Board, and it will not create or imply any additional fiduciary duties on the Board or any member of the Board. The Compensation Committee will, however, take into account the outcome of the vote when considering future executive compensation arrangements.

Abstentions and broker non-votes will not be counted for purposes of determining whether these proposals have received sufficient votes for approval.

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PROPOSAL NO. 1—ELECTION OF DIRECTORS
Nominees for Election as Directors
All eight persons nominated for election to the Board of Directors at the annual meeting are currently serving as directors of the Company. The Company is not aware of any nominee who will be unable or will decline to serve as a director. If a nominee becomes unable or declines to serve, the accompanying proxy may be voted for a substitute nominee, if any, designated by the Board. The term of office of each person elected as a director will continue until the later of the next annual meeting of shareholders or until such time as his or her successor has been duly elected and qualified.
The following tables list the nominees for election and information about each nominee. The Governance and Nominations Committee has recommended each nominee to the Board of Directors. Each nominee meets the criteria set forth in the Corporate Governance Principles, including that no Company director shall serve on more than four public company boards of directors, inclusive of service on the Company’s Board. In addition, each nominee meets the minimum share ownership guidelines set forth in the Corporate Governance Principles, under which the Chief Executive Officer is expected to own shares with a value not less than five times his base salary, and each non-employee member of the Board is expected to own shares with a value not less than five times the sum of the director’s retainers for service on the Board and on Board committees, within five years after election or appointment to the Board.
Under the charter of the Governance and Nominations Committee, the Committee is responsible for identifying from a wide field of candidates, including women and minority candidates, and recommending that the Board select qualified candidates for membership on the Board. In identifying candidates, the Committee takes into account such factors as it considers appropriate, which may include (1) ensuring that the Board, as a whole, is diverse as to race, gender, culture, thought and geography, such that the Board reflects a range of viewpoints, backgrounds, skills, experience and expertise, and consists of individuals with various and relevant career experience, relevant technical skills, industry knowledge and experience, financial expertise and local or community ties; (2) minimum individual qualifications, including strength of character, mature judgment, familiarity with the Company’s business and industry, independence of thought and an ability to work collegially; (3) questions of independence, possible conflicts of interest and whether a candidate has special interests or a specific agenda that would impair his or her ability to effectively represent the interests of all shareholders; (4) the extent to which the candidate would fill a present need on the Board; and (5) whether the candidate can make sufficient time available to perform the duties of a director.

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Name
Age
Principal Occupation and Background
Director
Since
John C. Hodge
52
Mr. Hodge has been a member of the Board of Directors since October 2018. He is a founding partner of private-equity firm Rubicon Technology Partners, which he joined in 2012. Prior to that, Mr. Hodge was a Senior Advisor and Senior Managing Director with Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, from 2006 to 2011. From 1998 to February 2006, Mr. Hodge was Senior Advisor, Managing Director and Global Head of Corporate Finance of the Technology Group of Credit Suisse First Boston. He also previously held positions at Morgan Stanley and Robertson Stephens. Mr. Hodge has spent more than 25 years as an investor in and advisor to the global semiconductor and technology industry.
Mr. Hodge’s qualifications to serve as a director include his years of experience in private equity, corporate finance, and merger and acquisition transactions and his extensive experience as a director of semiconductor companies, including Silicon Image, Inc. from 2007 to 2014 and Freescale Semiconductor, Ltd. from 2008 to 2011. He brings to the Company’s Board of Directors his financial expertise and his work as a private equity investor analyzing and focusing on creating long-term value through operational improvements utilizing a repeatable process driven approach.
2018
Clyde R. Hosein
60
Mr. Hosein has been a member of the Board of Directors since December 2005. Since December 2017, he has served as Chief Financial Officer of Automation Anywhere, Inc., an enterprise software provider of robotic process automation. From August 2013 to May 2017, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of RingCentral, Inc., a publicly traded provider of software-as-a-service cloud-based business communications solutions. Prior to this, Mr. Hosein served from June 2008 to October 2012 as Chief Financial Officer of Marvell Technology Group Ltd., a publicly traded semiconductor provider of high-performance analog, mixed-signal, digital signal processing and embedded microprocessor integrated circuits, and he also served as its Interim Chief Operating Officer and Secretary from October 2008 to March 2010. From 2003 to 2008, he served as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Integrated Device Technology, Inc., a provider of mixed-signal semiconductor solutions. From 2001 to 2003, he served as Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer of Advanced Interconnect Technologies, a semiconductor assembly and test company. He has also held other senior level financial positions, including the role of Chief Financial Officer at Candescent Technologies, a developer of flat panel display technology. Early in his career he spent 14 years in financial and engineering roles at IBM Corporation.
Mr. Hosein’s qualifications to serve as a director include his years of experience as an executive officer in publicly traded companies in the semiconductor industry, including his roles in operational management, his substantial experience as a chief financial officer responsible for the finance and accounting functions of publicly traded companies, his qualifications as an audit committee financial expert, and his technical background and significant experience in technology-based companies generally.
2005

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Name
Age
Principal Occupation and Background
Director
Since
Darren R. Jackson
54
Mr. Jackson joined the Board of Directors in May 2016, and has served as Chairman of the Board of Cree since October 2018. From July 2004 to January 2016, he served on the Board of Directors of Advance Auto Parts, Inc., and served as its Chief Executive Officer from January 2008 to January 2016.  Mr. Jackson also served as President of Advance Auto Parts from January 2008 to January 2009 and from January 2012 to April 2013. Prior to this, Mr. Jackson served in various executive positions with Best Buy Co., Inc., a specialty retailer of consumer electronics, office products, appliances and software, ultimately serving from July 2007 to December 2007 as Executive Vice President of Customer Operating Groups. Mr. Jackson joined Best Buy in 2000 and was appointed as its Executive Vice President-Finance and Chief Financial Officer in February of 2001. Prior to 2000, he served as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Nordstrom, Inc., Full-line Stores, a fashion specialty retailer, and held various senior positions, including Chief Financial Officer of Carson Pirie Scott & Company, a regional department store company. Mr. Jackson has also served as a director of Fastenal Company (NASDAQ: FAST), which sells industrial and construction supplies, since July 2012.
Mr. Jackson’s qualifications to serve as a director include his years as a Chief Executive Officer, President and Chief Financial Officer of publicly traded companies in the retail and distribution industries, including his operational, logistical and executive management, financial and accounting acumen and experience.
2016
Duy-Loan T. Le
57
Ms. Le has served on the Board of Directors since October 2018. She retired from Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN) in February 2015, most recently holding the title of Senior Fellow since 2002. During her 33 year career at Texas Instruments, Ms. Le held various leadership positions, including Advanced Technology Ramp Manager for the Embedded Processing Division and worldwide project manager for the Memory Division. Since 2016, she has been president and sole partner of DLE Management Consulting LLC, a management consulting firm. Ms. Le has 33 years of experience in semiconductors, specifically in chip design, silicon manufacturing technology development, and advanced technology manufacturing from concept to high volume production, and 33 years of global business experience, including managing global R&D centers, joint ventures, foundries, and OSAT (Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test) partnerships in Asia and Europe. Ms. Le is currently a member of the board of directors of Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ: BLDP) and National Instruments Corp. (NASDAQ: NATI).
Ms. Le’s qualifications to serve as a director include her extensive experience in various aspects of semiconductor design and manufacture, including operations, research and development, product launch, customer interfacing, foundry partnership, and supply chain management while at Texas Instruments. She also has 17 years of experience serving on public company boards of directors.
2018

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Name
Age
Principal Occupation and Background
Director
Since
Gregg A. Lowe
57
Mr. Lowe has served as the Company’s President, Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors since September 2017. From June 2012 to December 2015, he served as president and CEO of Freescale Semiconductor, Ltd., a $5 billion company with 17,000 employees and products serving automotive, industrial, consumer and communications markets. Prior to that, he had a long career spanning 28 years at Texas Instruments, most recently serving as senior vice president and leader of the analog business. In addition to his experience with semiconductor companies, Mr. Lowe also holds board positions with Silicon Labs in Austin, Texas (NASDAQ: SLAB) and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, where he co-chairs the education committee for the board.
Mr. Lowe brings to the Board extensive leadership and deep industry experience from his long career serving publicly-traded companies in the semiconductor industry. Further, Mr. Lowe’s leadership position as the Chief Executive Officer of the Company equips him with a unique perspective to inform Board deliberations on the vision for the company moving forward in addition to crucial insights on the general management and operations of the Company.
2017
John B. Replogle
53
Mr. Replogle joined the Board of Directors in January 2014. Since October 2017, he has served as a Founding Partner of One Better Ventures, LLC, a venture capital firm focused on consumer brands that have a positive impact. From March 2011 to October 2017, he served as Chief Executive Officer and President of Seventh Generation, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of sustainable household products. From 2006 to 2011, Mr. Replogle served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Burt's Bees, Inc., and from 2003 to 2006, he served as General Manager of Unilever's Skin Care division. Previously, he worked for Diageo, Plc for seven years in a number of different capacities, including as President of Guinness Bass Import Company and Managing Director of Guinness Great Britain. He started his career with the Boston Consulting Group. Mr. Replogle also served as a director of Sealy Corporation, a publicly traded mattress manufacturer, from 2010 to 2013, until its sale to Tempur-Pedic International Inc.
Mr. Replogle’s qualifications to serve as a director include significant senior executive leadership experience, including eleven years of experience as chief executive officer at two companies, as well as deep experience in marketing, branding and distribution of consumer goods. This experience provides him valuable perspective in his role as a director and member of our Audit Committee.
2014

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Name
Age
Principal Occupation and Background
Director
Since
Thomas H. Werner
59
Mr. Werner has been a member of the Board of Directors since March 2006. He has served as Chief Executive Officer for SunPower Corporation, a publicly traded manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells and solar panels, since June 2003, and is also Chairman of its Board of Directors. Prior to SunPower, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Silicon Light Machines Corporation, an optical solutions subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor Corporation, from July 2001 to June 2003. Earlier, Mr. Werner was Vice President and General Manager of the Business Connectivity Group of 3Com Corporation, a network solutions company.
Mr. Werner’s qualifications to serve as a director include significant executive leadership and operational management experience gained at businesses in the technology sector, and the semiconductor industry in particular, including his experience as a chief executive officer of a publicly traded “green technology” company for the past sixteen years.
2006

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Name
Age
Principal Occupation and Background
Director
Since
Anne C. Whitaker
52
Ms. Whitaker joined the Board of Directors in December 2013. Since October 2018, she has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Dance Biopharm Holdings, Inc., a clinical stage pharmaceutical and medical device company. Ms. Whitaker started her healthcare career in 1991 as a sales representative with The Upjohn Company, now Pfizer, Inc. (NYSE: PFE). She subsequently transitioned to GlaxoSmithKline PLC (NYSE: GSK) in 1992 where she rose in the leadership ranks to become a member of the global management team as the Global Head of the Leadership and Organization Development Centre of Excellence and ultimately served as the Senior Vice President and Business Unit Head for the Cardiovascular, Metabolic, and Urology franchises from September 2009 to September 2011. Ms. Whitaker joined Sanofi SA (Euronext Paris: SAN-FR) in 2011 where she served through August 2014 as the President of the North America Region and CEO of Sanofi US, LLC, where she led more than 5,000 employees to deliver revenues exceeding $16 billion annually. Ms. Whitaker served as the CEO and President of Synta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: SNTA) an oncology focused late stage pharmaceutical development company, which is now Madrigal Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: MDGL), from September 2014 to April 2015. She joined Bausch Healthcare Companies (NYSE: BHC) in May 2015 and served through January 2017 as Executive Vice President and Company Group Chairman for the global branded pharmaceutical segment where she notably led the successful integration of two multi-billion dollar businesses, Salix Pharmaceuticals and Dendreon. In 2017, Ms. Whitaker transitioned to the early stage biotech sector and helped build Novoclem Therapeutics, Inc., a subsidiary of KNOW Bio, LLC, focused on developing therapies to treat people living with severe, chronic respiratory diseases. Prior to joining Dance Biopharm Holdings, Inc., starting in April 2018, Ms. Whitaker served as Managing Partner for Anne Whitaker Group, LLC, a consultant and professional service firm focused primarily on advising biotech and specialty pharmaceutical companies with commercial and product development strategy.
Ms. Whitaker previously served on the board of publicly traded Synta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: SNTA), now Madrigal Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDGL). Ms. Whitaker is currently an independent director on the board of two additional publicly traded companies, Mallinckrodt, Plc (NYSE: MKN), a specialty pharmaceutical company, and Vectura Group, Plc (London Exchange: VEC-GB), a pharmaceutical and medical device company. She was appointed in 2018 by the Governor of Alabama to serve as a Trustee for the University of North Alabama.
Ms. Whitaker brings to the Board her experience as a CEO of a publicly traded company along with more than a decade of senior executive commercial and human resource experience at some of the most respected publicly traded global pharmaceutical companies in the world. Her experience in the life science industry growing and managing complex multi-division businesses, along with her insights on product research and development, intellectual property creation and protection, and key commercial functions including market access, customer relationship management, sales and marketing, provide her with a unique perspective in her role as a director and member of our Compensation Committee and Nomination and Governance Committee.
2013


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Summary of Skills of Nominees
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The Board of Directors recommends shareholders
vote FOR election of the nominees named above.




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Executive Officers
Mr. Lowe serves as both an executive officer of the Company and a member of the Board of Directors. Neill P. Reynolds (age 44) also serves as an executive officer of the Company.
Mr. Reynolds was appointed as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Company effective August 27, 2018. Before joining the Company, Mr. Reynolds most recently served as the Senior Vice President of Finance, Strategy and Procurement for NXP Semiconductors N.V., or NXP, since December 2015. Prior to this time, Mr. Reynolds served as Vice President of Finance for Freescale Semiconductor, Ltd., or Freescale, from January 2013 until November 2015. Prior to his work with NXP and Freescale, Mr. Reynolds served in finance positions with other international technology companies including General Electric and Advanced Micro Devices.
Code of Ethics
We have adopted a Code of Ethics applicable to our senior financial officers, including our Chief Executive Officer, or CEO, Chief Financial Officer, or CFO, and Executive Vice Presidents. The full text of our Code of Ethics is published on our website at www.cree.com. Consistent with Item 5.05 of Form 8-K, we intend to disclose future amendments to, or waivers from, the Code of Ethics on our website within four business days following the date of such amendment or waiver. We will also provide a copy of our Code of Ethics to any person, without charge. All such requests should be in writing and sent to the attention of the Corporate Secretary, Cree, Inc., 4600 Silicon Drive, Durham, NC 27703.
Board Composition and Independence of Directors
The size of the Board of Directors was fixed at not less than five nor more than nine members by the Company’s shareholders, with the Board determining the number within that range from time to time. Eight persons have been nominated for election at the annual meeting. The accompanying proxy cannot be voted for more than eight nominees.
A majority of the Board of Directors must be comprised of independent directors for the Company to comply with the listing requirements of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC, or the Nasdaq Listing Rules. Currently, the Board of Directors is composed of Messrs. Lowe, Hodge, Hosein, Jackson, Replogle, and Werner and Mses. Le and Whitaker. The Board of Directors has determined that seven of the present directors—Messrs. Hodge, Hosein, Jackson, Replogle, and Werner and Mses. Le and Whitaker—are each an “independent director” within the meaning of the applicable Nasdaq Listing Rules.

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The Leadership Structure of the Board of Directors
The leadership of the Board of Directors includes the Chairman of the Board, the Lead Independent Director (if the Chairman is not independent), and the Chairman of each of the Audit Committee, the Compensation Committee and the Governance and Nominations Committee.
The responsibilities of the Chairman of the Board under our Bylaws are to preside at meetings of the Board of Directors and shareholders and to perform such other duties as may be directed by the Board from time to time. The Chairman also has the power to call meetings of the Board of Directors and of the shareholders. Mr. Jackson was elected as Chairman of the Board effective as of the 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, succeeding our former Chairman Robert A. Ingram following his retirement from the Board.
The Board has adopted Corporate Governance Principles that call for the Board to designate a Lead Independent Director any time that the Chairman of the Board is not an independent director. The independent directors meet at regularly scheduled sessions immediately following each regularly scheduled Board of Directors meeting without other directors or members of management present. As specified in the Corporate Governance Principles, the responsibilities of the Lead Independent Director, if applicable, include the following:
In the absence of the Chairman, the Lead Independent Director serves as acting Chairman presiding over meetings of the Board of Directors and shareholders;
The Lead Independent Director convenes and presides over meetings of the independent directors and communicates the results of these sessions where appropriate to the Chairman, other management or the Board;
In general, the Lead Independent Director serves as principal liaison between the independent directors and the Chairman and between the independent directors and other management; and
The Lead Independent Director reviews agendas for Board of Directors meetings in advance with the Chairman.
The day-to-day work of the Board of Directors is conducted through its three principal standing committees—Audit, Compensation and Governance and Nominations—to which the Board has delegated authority and responsibilities in accordance with the committees’ respective charters. The Chairmen of each of these committees are independent directors appointed by the Board upon the recommendation of the Governance and Nominations Committee. Under our Corporate Governance Principles, the Chairman of each committee is responsible for development of the agenda for committee meetings, and each committee must regularly report to the Board of Directors on the discussions and actions of the committee.
The Board of Directors has determined that this leadership structure is appropriate for the Company and best serves the interests of the shareholders under the present circumstances. In particular, the Board has determined that the Company is best served by having Mr. Jackson hold the position of Chairman of the Board. This determination is based in part upon the experience, leadership qualities and skills that Mr. Jackson brings to the Board, as detailed in the section captioned “Nominees for Election as Directors” on page 6. In addition, Mr. Jackson has familiarity with the Company’s unique opportunities and challenges from his prior service on the Board, in addition to his wealth of public company executive and board experience, including previously serving as Chief Executive Officer and director of Advance Auto Parts, Inc. As such, the Board determined that Mr. Jackson’s ability to lead discussions on matters affecting the Company maximizes the efficiency and productivity of the deliberations of the Board. Although the Board believes this structure is appropriate under the present circumstances, the Board has also affirmatively determined not to adopt a policy on whether the roles of Chairman and CEO should be separated or combined because the Board believes that there is no single best blueprint for structuring board leadership and that, as circumstances change, the optimal leadership structure may change.

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Board’s Role in Risk Oversight
The Board, acting itself or through one or more of its committees, has general oversight responsibility for corporate risk management, including oversight of management’s implementation of risk management practices. While the Board is responsible for risk oversight, management is ultimately responsible for assessing and managing our risk exposures. The Board directly oversees management’s assessment, mitigation efforts and monitoring of strategic and operational risks, such as those relating to competitive dynamics, market trends and developments in the Company’s industry, changes in economic conditions and cybersecurity. Senior management regularly updates business plans for each of the Company’s product lines, including an assessment of strategic and operational risks and responses to identified risks, and members of the Board and senior management meet annually to review these plans. In addition, senior management reports to the Board at each quarterly Board meeting on progress made against these strategic plans, including an update on changes in risk exposure and management’s responses to the changes.
The Board also fulfills its risk oversight role through its committees. Specifically, the Audit Committee charter assigns it the responsibility to review periodically with management, the internal auditors, and the independent auditors the Company’s significant financial risk exposures, including the Company’s policies with respect to risk assessment and Company-wide risk management, and to assess the steps management has taken to monitor and control such exposures. The Audit Committee regularly discusses material risks and exposures with our independent registered public accounting firm and receives reports from our accounting and internal audit management personnel regarding such risks and exposures and how management has attempted to minimize the exposures. The Audit Committee’s primary focus is financial risk, including our internal control over financial reporting. Particular areas of focus of the Audit Committee include risks associated with taxes, liquidity, investments, information technology security, material litigation, and compliance.
Similarly, the Compensation Committee charter assigns it the responsibility to review periodically with management the Company’s compensation programs as they relate to risk management practices and risk-taking incentives, including an assessment of whether the Company’s compensation policies and practices encourage excessive or inappropriate risk-taking. The Committee also considers risk management as it develops and approves incentive and other compensation programs for our executive officers, and it performs risk oversight in the area of management succession.
Each of these committees reports to the Board of Directors with respect to the risk categories it oversees. These ongoing discussions enable the Board to monitor our risk exposure and evaluate our risk mitigation efforts.
Compensation Program Risk Assessment
We have assessed our compensation programs and have concluded that risks arising from our compensation policies and practices are not reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on us. The risk assessment process included a review by management and by Radford, an Aon Hewitt Company, independent consultants to the Compensation Committee, of compensation policies and practices, focusing on programs with variable compensation, specifically:
restricted stock unit awards and performance stock unit awards under our 2013 Long-Term Incentive Compensation Plan, or the LTIP;
performance unit awards payable to our CEO and to our Executive Vice Presidents under the LTIP which provide for cash payments based upon achieving annual corporate financial goals;
awards under our cash incentive bonus plan, in which most of our senior managers (other than our currently employed named executive officers) participate and may receive payments based upon achieving annual corporate financial goals; and
sales commission incentive programs for our sales personnel.
Based upon this review, we concluded that our compensation policies and practices do not encourage excessive or inappropriate risk-taking.  We believe our programs are appropriately designed to encourage our employees to make decisions that should result in positive short-term and long-term results for our business and our shareholders.  Management and Radford reviewed the results of this review with the Compensation Committee at a meeting in August 2019, and the Committee concurred with management’s assessment at that time.

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Corporate Social Responsibility
Cree is committed to creating a responsible and sustainable business environment through focused attention on the Company’s impact on our people and communities, as well as environmental sustainability.
For more than 30 years, since the Company’s beginnings in a lab at NC State University, Cree has been innovating and delivering technology solutions designed to enable our customers and society to do more with less - by supplying semiconductor components that enable greater efficiency and performance, smaller systems, and lower costs. We are on a mission to transform the semiconductor market with the adoption of silicon carbide. Our continued innovation and commercialization of silicon carbide and GaN enable other industry pioneers to develop products that are the next generation in energy efficiency. Wolfspeed® technologies are at the heart of today’s biggest industry transformations, including the move to electric vehicles, wireless infrastructure that will unlock the potential of smart cities, and ubiquitous power storage that will enable the broader adoption of alternative energy.
People and Communities
We are committed to creating and sustaining a culture where all employees are engaged and can contribute to their full potential. Our culture fosters an inclusive workplace, and our hiring efforts develop employees from the communities where we operate. Employee health and safety is key to our culture and success. Our employees are empowered to actively identify safety issues, take ownership for working safely, openly report concerns, and recognize positive behaviors that promote a safe work environment. We aim to hire the best available talent, develop our employees, and promote from within. We fuel long-term growth opportunities through an internal mobility practice that combines ongoing workforce development, leadership training, education assistance and career path planning. In parallel, we refreshed our corporate values. Hundreds of employees participated in focus groups, which culminated in the creation of values the entire team can support. With the input from those focus groups, we have been steadily improving our benefits programs to more closely align with employees’ needs. Our peoples’ daily experience and ability to do their best work is our top priority.
We have also developed and deployed a company-wide philanthropic program with a mission to help our communities ensure our neighbors have a roof over their heads, enough to eat and an opportunity to excel. We have enhanced partnerships with local food banks, STEM organizations and Habitat for Humanity in the communities where we operate, and continue to live our values through direct impacts that improve access to food, education and housing for our neighbors. The Company’s Women’s Initiative, our first employee resource group, is dedicated to empowering our women and continuously hosts programs and events to cultivate and celebrate the rich diversity of thought, perspectives, and life experiences so critical to our success.
Environmental Sustainability
Our products enable customers to deliver solutions that significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by displacing fossil fuel usage in transportation and energy generation and storage. Our mission is to lead the innovation and commercialization of silicon carbide and GaN, replacing silicon as the default technology, and subsequently, enabling designers to invent systems for electric vehicles, renewable energy, energy storage, communications infrastructure and other industrial uses. In 2018, we estimate our lighting, LED, power and radio frequency products produced will save approximately 440 million MWh and 220 million metric tons CO2 equivalents over their lifetimes compared to less efficient alternatives.
In our manufacturing operations, we strive to minimize resource use and reduce the environmental impact of our production processes. We recently announced a “Zero-Defect Mindset” to transform our quality, culture and behaviors. This includes key partnerships with operations, business, and sales to keep quality as one of our competitive advantages. This mindset is designed to reduce waste, improve raw material usage, as well as increase customer satisfaction and help us meet the highest standards required by our target industries.
For more information about our corporate responsibility efforts, please refer to the Sustainability section of our website at www.cree.com/about/sustainability. These materials and our website are not incorporated by reference in, and are not part of, this proxy statement.

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Attendance at Meetings
The Board of Directors held eight meetings during fiscal 2019. Each incumbent director attended or participated in 75% or more of the aggregate number of meetings of the Board of Directors held during the period in which he or she was a director and the number of meetings of committees on which he or she served that were held during the period of his or her service.
The Company expects all directors to attend each annual meeting of shareholders absent good reason. Five of the six directors serving at that time and standing for reelection attended the 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.
Standing Committees
The standing committees of the Board of Directors include the Audit Committee, the Governance and Nominations Committee and the Compensation Committee. Each of these committees operates under a written charter adopted by the Board of Directors, copies of which are available on the Company’s website at www.cree.com. Each committee is composed solely of independent directors. The following is a brief description of the responsibilities of each of the existing standing committees and their composition.
Audit Committee
The Audit Committee is appointed by the Board of Directors to oversee the accounting and financial reporting processes of the Company and audits of the Company’s financial statements. The responsibilities of the Audit Committee include acting on the Board of Directors’ behalf in providing oversight with respect to (1) the quality and integrity of the Company’s financial statements and internal accounting and financial controls; (2) all audit, review and attest services relating to the Company’s financial statements and internal controls, including the appointment, compensation, retention and oversight of the work of the independent auditors engaged to provide audit services to the Company; and (3) the Company’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. In addition, the Audit Committee is charged with conducting appropriate review and oversight of any related person transactions, other than related person transactions for which the Board of Directors has delegated review to another independent body of the Board of Directors.
The members of the Audit Committee during fiscal 2019 were Messrs. Hodge, Hosein, Ingram, Jackson and Replogle. The Board of Directors has determined that all members of the Committee are “independent directors” within the meaning of the applicable Nasdaq Listing Rules, including the special independence requirements applicable to Audit Committee members. Effective as of the 2018 Annual Meeting, Mr. Hosein became Chairman of the Audit Committee. Mr. Jackson served as Audit Committee Chairman from August 2016 to October 2018. Effective as of the 2018 Annual Meeting, Mr. Ingram stepped down from the Audit Committee in connection with his retirement from the Board, and Mr. Hodge joined the Audit Committee after the 2018 Annual Meeting. The Board of Directors has determined that each of Messrs. Hodge, Hosein, Ingram, Jackson and Replogle is an “audit committee financial expert” as defined in Item 407 of Regulation S-K of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Audit Committee held six meetings during fiscal 2019. The Audit Committee from time to time also takes action by unanimous written consent in lieu of holding a meeting.
Governance and Nominations Committee
The Governance and Nominations Committee is appointed by the Board of Directors to assist the Board of Directors in fulfilling its responsibilities to shareholders by (1) identifying individuals qualified to become directors and recommending that the Board of Directors select the candidates for all directorships to be filled by the Board of Directors or by the shareholders; (2) upon the recommendation of the Compensation Committee, determining compensation arrangements for non-employee directors; (3) developing and recommending to the Board of Directors corporate governance principles for the Company; and (4) otherwise taking a leadership role in shaping the corporate governance of the Company.
The members of the Governance and Nominations Committee during fiscal 2019 were Messrs. Hodge, Hosein, Ingram, Jackson, C. Howard Nye, Replogle, and Werner and Mses. Le and Whitaker. The Board of Directors has determined that all members of the Committee are “independent directors” within the meaning of the applicable

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Nasdaq Listing Rules. Effective as of the 2018 Annual Meeting, Mr. Replogle became Chairman of the Governance and Nominations Committee. Mr. Nye served as Governance and Nominations Committee Chairman from August 2016 to October 2018. Effective as of the 2018 Annual Meeting, Messrs. Ingram and Nye stepped down from the Governance and Nominations Committee in connection with their retirement from the Board, and both Mr. Hodge and Ms. Le joined the Governance and Nominations Committee. The Governance and Nominations Committee charter establishes a policy with regard to the consideration of director candidates, including those candidates recommended by shareholders. The Governance and Nominations Committee will consider written nominations properly submitted by shareholders according to procedures set forth in the Company’s Bylaws. For a description of these procedures and policies regarding nominations see “Procedures for Director Nominations” and “2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders” on page 60 below. The Governance and Nominations Committee held four meetings during fiscal 2019. The Governance and Nominations Committee from time to time also takes action by unanimous written consent in lieu of holding a meeting.
Compensation Committee
The Compensation Committee is appointed by the Board of Directors to assist the Board of Directors in discharging its overall responsibility relating to executive officer and director compensation and to oversee and report to the Board of Directors as appropriate on the Company’s compensation and benefit policies, programs and plans, including its stock-based compensation programs and employee stock purchase plan. The Compensation Committee approves the compensation of all executive officers, administers the Company’s stock-based compensation programs and recommends compensation for non-employee directors to the Governance and Nominations Committee for approval. In addition, the Compensation Committee is charged with conducting appropriate review and oversight of any related person transactions involving compensation for directors or executive officers or their immediate family members and engaging and evaluating the Company’s compensation advisors, including evaluation of the advisors’ independence in advance of engagement.
The Compensation Committee may delegate its authority to adopt, amend, administer and/or terminate any benefit plan, other than retirement plans or stock-based compensation plans or non-stock-based compensation plans in which directors or executive officers are eligible to participate, to the Company’s CEO, any other officer of the Company, or to a committee the membership of which consists of at least one Company officer. To the extent not inconsistent with governing requirements, the Compensation Committee may also delegate its authority to grant equity awards other than awards to directors and executive officers to a committee comprised solely of executive officers or to one or more executive officers and may delegate its authority for day-to-day administration of the Company’s stock-based plans to any officer or employee of the Company.
The Compensation Committee generally makes decisions and recommendations regarding annual compensation at its August meeting each year. The Compensation Committee solicits the recommendations of the Company’s CEO with respect to the compensation of the Company’s executive officers other than himself and factors these recommendations into the determination of compensation, as described in “Compensation Discussion and Analysis.” In addition, the Compensation Committee engaged Radford to conduct an annual review of the Company’s compensation program for its executive officers and directors, including a review for fiscal 2019. Radford provided the Compensation Committee with relevant market data and recommendations to consider when making compensation decisions with respect to the executive officers and in making recommendations to the Governance and Nominations Committee with respect to the compensation of non-employee directors. The Company also engaged Radford for additional services as further discussed in the section entitled “Role of Compensation Consultant” on page 27 below.
The members of the Compensation Committee during fiscal 2019 were Messrs. Nye and Werner and Mses. Le and Whitaker. Effective as of the 2018 Annual Meeting, Mr. Nye stepped down from the Compensation Committee in connection with his retirement from the Board, and Ms. Le joined the Compensation Committee. The Board of Directors has determined that all members of the Committee are “independent directors” within the meaning of the applicable Nasdaq Listing Rules. Mr. Werner is Chairman of the Compensation Committee and has served in that capacity since 2007. The Compensation Committee held five meetings during fiscal 2019. The Compensation Committee from time to time also takes action by unanimous written consent in lieu of holding a meeting.

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Review and Approval of Related Person Transactions
The Audit Committee must approve any related person transaction, other than any related person transaction for which the Board of Directors has delegated review to another independent body of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors has delegated review of any related person transaction involving compensation for directors or executive officers or their immediate family members to the Compensation Committee. “Related person transaction” is defined in the Audit Committee and Compensation Committee charters as any transaction required to be disclosed pursuant to Securities and Exchange Commission Regulation S-K, Item 404, and any other transactions for which approval by an independent body of the Board of Directors is required pursuant to applicable law or listing standards applicable to the Company. In determining whether to approve such transactions, the members of the Audit Committee, the Compensation Committee, or another independent body of the Board of Directors delegated by the Board of Directors, may exercise their discretion in performance of their duties as directors.  These duties include the obligation of a director under North Carolina law to “discharge his duties as a director, including his duties as a member of a committee:  (1) in good faith; (2) with the care an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would exercise under similar circumstances; and (3) in a manner he reasonably believes to be in the best interests of the corporation.” North Carolina General Statutes Section 55-8-30(a). The Audit Committee generally approves related person transactions.
Delinquent Section 16(a) Reports    
Section 16(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, requires that the Company’s directors and executive officers, and persons who own more than ten percent of a registered class of the Company’s equity securities, file with the Securities and Exchange Commission initial reports of ownership and reports of changes in ownership of common stock and other equity securities of the Company. To the Company’s knowledge, based solely on its review of the copies of such reports furnished to the Company and written representations that no other reports were required, all Section 16(a) filing requirements applicable to our directors, officers and ten percent beneficial owners were complied with on a timely basis during fiscal 2019.
Anti-Hedging Policy    
The Company’s Securities Trading Policy prohibits all employees (including officers) and members of the Board from engaging in any hedging transactions with respect to any equity securities of the Company held by them, including through the use of financial instruments such as prepaid variable forward contracts, equity swaps, collars, and exchange funds designed to hedge or offset any decrease in the market value of such equity securities.

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OWNERSHIP OF SECURITIES
Principal Shareholders and Share Ownership by Management
The following table sets forth information regarding the beneficial ownership of the Company’s common stock as of September 6, 2019 by (1) each person known to the Company to be the beneficial owner of more than 5% of the outstanding common stock; (2) each person named in the Summary Compensation Table on page 41; (3) each person serving as a director or nominated for election as a director; and (4) all current executive officers and directors (including director nominees) as a group as of September 6, 2019. Except as otherwise indicated by footnote or to the extent shared by spouses under applicable law, to the Company’s knowledge, the persons named in the table below have sole voting and investment power with respect to all shares of common stock shown as beneficially owned by them.

Name and Address (1)
Common Stock
Beneficially Owned
Percentage of
Outstanding Shares
BlackRock, Inc. (2)
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
13,106,544

12.8%
ClearBridge Investments, LLC (3)
620 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10018
10,200,361

9.9%
PRIMECAP Management Company (4)
177 E. Colorado Blvd., 11th Floor
Pasadena, CA 91105
8,465,189

8.2%
Artisan Partners Asset Management Inc. (5)
875 E. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 800
Milwaukee, WI 53202
8,165,479

8.0%
Capital Research Global Investors (6)
333 South Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
5,596,532

5.4%
Gregg A. Lowe (7)
93,343

*
Neill P. Reynolds
8,115

*
David T. Emerson (8)
125,032

*
Michael E. McDevitt (9)
69,723

*
John B. Replogle (10)
83,304

*
Thomas H. Werner (11)
65,446

*
Clyde R. Hosein (12)
60,316

*
Anne C. Whitaker (13)
34,653

*
Darren R. Jackson
33,833

*
Duy-Loan T. Le (14)
5,481

*
John C. Hodge (15)
2,587

*
All current directors and executive officers as
a group (9 persons) (16)
387,078

*
________________
*
Less than 1%.
(1)
Unless otherwise noted, all addresses are in care of the Company at 4600 Silicon Drive, Durham, NC 27703.

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(2)
As reported by BlackRock, Inc. in a Schedule 13G/A filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 11, 2019, which states that BlackRock, Inc. has sole dispositive power with respect to all of such shares and sole voting power with respect to 12,859,984 shares.
(3)
As reported by ClearBridge Investments, LLC in a Schedule 13G/A filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 14, 2019, which states that Clearbridge Investments, LLC has sole dispositive power with respect to all of such shares and sole voting power with respect to 9,775,777 shares.
(4)
As reported by PRIMECAP Management Company in a Schedule 13G/A filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 8, 2019, which states that PRIMECAP Management Company has sole dispositive power with respect to all of such shares and sole voting power with respect to 4,239,129 shares.
(5)
As reported by Artisan Partners Asset Management Inc. in a Schedule 13G filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 7, 2019, which states that Artisan Partners Asset Management Inc. has sole dispositive power with respect to all of such shares and sole voting power with respect to 7,407,553 shares.
(6)
As reported by Capital Research Global Investors in a Schedule 13G filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 13, 2019, which states that Capital Research Global Investors has sole investment and voting authority with respect to all of such shares.
(7)
Includes 52,214 shares subject to RSUs vesting within sixty days of September 6, 2019.
(8)
Mr. Emerson served as the Company’s Executive Vice President and General Manager–LED Products from September 1, 2017 to December 10, 2018. Includes 18,000 shares subject to options exercisable within sixty days of September 6, 2019.
(9)
Mr. McDevitt served as the Company’s Executive Vice President–Finance and Chief Financial Officer from February 4, 2013 to August 26, 2018.
(10)
Includes 4,000 shares subject to options exercisable within sixty days of September 6, 2019.
(11)
Includes 4,000 shares subject to options exercisable within sixty days of September 6, 2019.
(12)
Includes 4,000 shares subject to options exercisable within sixty days of September 6, 2019.
(13)
Includes 4,000 shares subject to options exercisable within sixty days of September 6, 2019.
(14) Includes 1,481 shares subject to RSUs vesting within sixty days of September 6, 2019.
(15)
Includes 1,481 shares subject to RSUs vesting within sixty days of September 6, 2019.
(16) For all current executive officers and directors as a group, includes a total of 16,000 shares subject to options exercisable within sixty days of September 6, 2019, and 55,176 shares subject to RSUs vesting within sixty days of September 6, 2019.

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EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION
Compensation Discussion and Analysis
The following discussion and analysis describes the compensation of Cree’s named executive officers for fiscal 2019. The discussion explains the decisions that were made in determining the fiscal 2019 compensation for each named executive officer:
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Executive Summary
How Our Compensation Program Works. The Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors has overall responsibility for executive officer compensation, including defining the compensation philosophy, setting the elements of compensation and approving individual compensation decisions. The Committee is also responsible for overseeing administration of compensation and benefit programs and plans in which the executive officers are eligible to participate.
Consistent with the Committee’s philosophy in prior fiscal years, the Committee believes that Cree’s executive officer compensation should:
be linked closely to Cree’s operational, financial and business performance;
align the interests of the executives with those of Cree’s shareholders;
provide incentives for achieving Cree’s financial and business goals; and
provide individual executive officers with the opportunity to earn compensation at levels that are competitive with executives in comparable jobs within Cree’s peer company group.
The primary elements of Cree’s executive compensation program are:
base salary;
performance-based cash incentive compensation, which is paid annually under our long-term incentive compensation plan (or LTIP) for our Chief Executive Officer (or CEO) and our other named executive officers; and
long-term equity incentive compensation, in the form of restricted stock units (RSUs) and performance stock units (PSUs).
The cash incentive and equity incentive elements are linked directly to Cree’s corporate performance and shareholder return and these elements account for the majority of the target total direct compensation (as defined below) of each executive officer. While these incentive elements provide an opportunity for the executive officer to receive considerable value in terms of compensation, total direct compensation actually realized by the executive officer can vary substantially from the target total direct compensation depending on the degree to which Cree’s financial and business objectives are achieved for the relevant fiscal year and shareholder value is increased. We discuss the difference between targeted total direct compensation and realized total direct compensation below.
Named Executive Officers at Fiscal Year End. The named executive officers who were serving as executive officers of Cree at the end of fiscal 2019 were:
Gregg A. Lowe, President and Chief Executive Officer; and
Neill P. Reynolds, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (Mr. Reynolds joined Cree on August 27, 2018 as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, or CFO).

Michael E. McDevitt, former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, was an executive officer for a portion of fiscal 2019 and is a named executive officer of the Company for fiscal 2019 under applicable Securities and Exchange Commission rules. As discussed below, Mr. McDevitt retired and stepped down from his executive roles at Cree in August 2018, continued as an employee of Cree until December 2018 and began his consulting agreement with Cree in January 2019. As a result, Mr. McDevitt was not serving as an executive officer at the end of fiscal 2019. In addition, David T. Emerson,

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former Executive Vice President and General Manager, LED Products, was an executive officer for a portion of fiscal 2019 and is a named executive officer of the Company for fiscal 2019 under applicable Securities and Exchange Commission rules. Mr. Emerson served as an executive officer of Cree until he stepped down from that position in December 2018 and therefore was not serving as an executive officer at the end of fiscal 2019. Except as otherwise specifically indicated below, where the discussion below refers to “named executive officers,” it refers to the two named executive officers who were serving Cree as executive officers at the end of fiscal 2019 (Messrs. Lowe and Reynolds), and not to Messrs. McDevitt and Emerson.
Chief Financial Officer Transition During Fiscal 2019. In August 2018, Mr. McDevitt stepped down from his Cree executive positions upon the appointment of Mr. Reynolds as Cree’s Executive Vice President and CFO. Mr. McDevitt continued as an employee for the remainder of calendar 2018 before becoming a consultant to the Company for one year pursuant to a Separation, General Release and Consulting Agreement, dated June 7, 2018 (the “McDevitt Separation Agreement”).
Key Compensation Decisions Made in August 2018 for Fiscal 2019. Key actions the Committee took in fiscal 2019 with respect to the named executive officers are summarized below. These actions are discussed in depth below under “—Elements of Executive Compensation and Analysis of Fiscal 2019 Compensation Decisions—Overall Program Design and Fiscal 2019 Implementation.”
Base salaries. The Committee approved base salary increases for Messrs. Lowe and Emerson of 3% based on a review of competitive market data, their individual performance during the year and the Company’s financial performance. The Committee established an initial base salary for Mr. Reynolds in connection with his August 2018 hiring based on a review of competitive market data and individual negotiations with Mr. Reynolds. Due to the timing of his hiring, Mr. Reynolds was not given an annual merit increase in base salary for fiscal 2019. Mr. McDevitt was not given a base salary increase for fiscal 2019.
Aggressive financial targets for performance-based short-term cash incentive compensation. The Committee established challenging annual Cree-wide financial targets for the named executive officers (including Messrs. McDevitt and Emerson), for the fiscal 2019 performance-based cash incentive programs. The targeted payout for Messrs. Lowe, Reynolds, Emerson and McDevitt were based solely on Cree-wide revenue and non-GAAP gross margin targets. Cree achieved the Cree-wide threshold non-GAAP gross margin target, and therefore Messrs. Lowe and Reynolds were entitled to receive a payout of annual cash incentive compensation under the LTIP as described in “Results and Actual Payouts for Fiscal 2019” below. As described below, in August 2019, the Committee also approved the award of discretionary cash bonuses to Messrs. Lowe and Reynolds to reflect their contributions to the Company’s achievement of a number of important operational and strategic milestones in fiscal 2019, including the sale of Cree’s Lighting Products business unit; execution of a number of sizable wafer supply agreements; and announcement of the Company’s significant capacity expansion. Mr. McDevitt received the benefits under the McDevitt Separation Agreement in lieu of the annual cash incentive compensation under the LTIP. Mr. Emerson did not receive an annual cash incentive compensation payment for fiscal 2019 because he was not continuously employed as an executive officer through the last day of the performance period.
Long-term equity compensation. For fiscal 2019, Cree granted equity awards to the named executive officers (including Mr. Emerson) in the form of RSUs and PSUs to align the interests of the named executive officers with Cree shareholders and to facilitate named executive officer retention. In addition, as discussed below, Cree reached the performance threshold for vesting of (i) the third performance period tranche of the PSUs granted to Messrs. McDevitt and Emerson in September 2016 under the established annual financial targets for fiscal 2019, and as a result, all outstanding shares under these PSUs vested in September 2019; and (ii) the second performance period tranche of the PSUs granted to Messrs. McDevitt and Emerson in September 2017 under the established annual financial targets for fiscal 2019, and as a result, this tranche of shares for these PSUs vested in September 2019.
Proportion of performance-based pay. Based on the Committee’s pay-for-performance philosophy (as further discussed below), as a direct result of the Committee’s compensation decisions, approximately 91% of Mr. Lowe’s target total direct compensation for fiscal 2019 was comprised of variable performance-based pay in the form of short-term cash incentives and long-term equity awards. Mr. Reynolds’s compensation for fiscal 2019 and beyond was negotiated in connection with his hiring as Chief Financial Officer in August 2018. As a result of such negotiation, 77% of Mr. Reynolds’s target total direct compensation for fiscal 2019 was comprised of these components.
Fiscal 2019 Cree Financial and Operational Performance. Since announcing our revised strategy in February 2018, we have made great progress toward our goal of creating a semiconductor powerhouse in Silicon Carbide and GaN technologies. We have grown Wolfspeed by more than 100% since that time, acquired the Infineon RF Power business, more than doubled

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our manufacturing capacity of Silicon Carbide materials, divested our Lighting Products business to IDEAL Industries, jointly announced with Valeo an innovative forward-lighting solution for the automotive industry, and signed multiple long-term silicon carbide materials supply agreements. In addition, in May 2019 we announced a one-billion-dollar planned investment over the next five years to increase our Silicon Carbide and GaN materials capacity, as well as the associated wafer fabrication capacity. This expansion is a significant step as we work to transform Cree into a semiconductor powerhouse, and accelerate the industry’s global transition from silicon to Silicon Carbide and GaN to meet the growing demand for our technologies that we expect from the automotive, communications infrastructure and industrial segments.
For fiscal 2019, Cree reported revenue from continuing operations of $1.1 billion, which represents a 17% increase when compared to revenue from continuing operations of $0.9 billion for fiscal 2018. GAAP net loss from continuing operations for fiscal 2019 was $57.9 million, or $0.56 per diluted share. This compares to a GAAP net loss from continuing operations of $16.4 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, for fiscal 2018. On a non-GAAP basis, net income from continuing operations for fiscal year 2019 was $76.9 million, or $0.74 per diluted share, compared to $36.9 million, or $0.37 per diluted share, for fiscal 2018. Significantly, Wolfspeed revenue grew 64% year over year to $538 million due to strong growth in Power, RF and Materials. While LED Products revenue was down 9% at $542 million, the Company’s focus on component product sales for certain applications, including high power general lighting, video screen, specialty lighting applications and automotive allowed LED Products gross margin to increase to 28% in fiscal 2019 from 26% in fiscal 2018. Cree’s non-GAAP results exclude costs related to stock-based compensation expense; the amortization of acquired intangibles; costs associated with corporate restructuring; amortization of debt issuance costs and discount; transaction-related costs related to the divestiture of the Lighting Products business unit in May 2019; executive severance costs; and the net income tax effect associated with the foregoing. Please see Cree’s earnings release for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended June 30, 2019 included as Exhibit 99.1 to the Form 8-K furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 20, 2019, for a full reconciliation of our GAAP to non-GAAP numbers, and management’s reasons for utilizing non-GAAP numbers.
As described below, Cree’s executive compensation program for fiscal 2019 generally worked as intended for the named executive officers employed for the full fiscal year, rewarding excellent Company and individual performance with compensation slightly above target. As discussed above, the Committee also determined to award the named executive officers serving at the end of fiscal 2019 an additional cash bonus to further recognize their contributions to the Company’s performance during fiscal 2019, particularly with regards to the operational and strategic milestones described above, bringing such officers’ total short term incentive compensation above target. The Committee remains committed to reinforcing Cree’s pay-for-performance philosophy in fiscal 2020 and beyond, and has similarly designed the fiscal 2020 compensation packages for continuing named executive officers accordingly.
Fiscal 2019 CEO Realized Pay and Cree’s Fiscal 2019 Performance. The table below illustrates the relationship between Mr. Lowe’s target pay for fiscal 2019, including for this purpose only additional amounts Mr. Lowe could potentially earn in fiscal 2019 as a result of prior year equity awards intended to vest in fiscal 2019, and the amounts actually realized based on our fiscal 2019 performance against the metrics established for our short and long term incentive programs for fiscal 2019 (and prior fiscal years, as applicable). This table supplements the information contained in the Summary Compensation Table on page 41, and should be read in conjunction with the Summary Compensation Table. Additionally, the individual compensation elements are discussed in more detail in the discussion that follows in “—Elements of Executive Compensation and Analysis of Fiscal 2019 Compensation Decisions.” As can be seen below, Mr. Lowe’s realized pay was 132% of his targeted pay for fiscal 2019, which the Committee believes reflects that its pay for performance compensation structure worked as intended.

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Compensation Realized by Our CEO for Fiscal 2019
(Mr. Lowe)
Compensation Element
 
Performance Period
 
Description
 
Fiscal 2019 Target Value (by element)
 
Amount Realized for Fiscal 2019
 
% of Target
Realized
Annual Compensation
Annual Cash Compensation
Base Salary
 
Fiscal 2019
 
Mr. Lowe currently is positioned at approximately the 50th percentile of the market. A 3% increase to base salary was given during fiscal 2019.
 
$
845,184

 
$
845,184

 
100%
Short-Term Incentive
 
Fiscal 2019
 
Mr. Lowe’s annual cash based incentive target is 140% of his salary. This is positioned between the 50th and 75th percentile of the market. In addition, based on his contribution to Cree’s overall fiscal 2019 operational and strategic results, the Committee desired to increase Mr. Lowe’s actual payout on short-term incentives and a payment equivalent to 150% of target was approved.
 
$
1,190,000

 
$
1,785,000

 
150%
Total Annual Cash Compensation
 
$
2,035,184

 
$
2,630,184

 
129.2%
Fiscal 2019 Long-Term Incentive Compensation
Performance Stock Units
 
PSUs granted in prior years for fiscal 2019 performance (grants for fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019)
 
PSUs comprise 50% of our executives targeted annual equity award. Mr. Lowe's equity awards vest three years after the date of grant. The actual number of shares earned will be based on the Company's Relative Shareholder Return compared to a peer group of companies over the period beginning at date of grant and ending three years after the date of grant. As of the end of fiscal 2019, no vesting measurement period has been concluded with respect to PSUs granted to Mr. Lowe, therefore no value from these awards has been realized.
 

 

 
Restricted Stock Units
 
RSUs granted in prior years scheduled to vest for fiscal 2019 service (grants for fiscal 2018 and 2019)
 
RSUs comprise 50% of our executives targeted annual equity award. These time-based awards vest equally over four years. This represents the vesting of the stock awards that were granted in fiscal 2018 and 2019.
 
$
1,447,894

 
$
1,955,936

 
135.1%
Total Long-Term Incentive Compensation
 
$
1,447,894

 
$
1,955,936

 
135.1%
Total Realized Compensation for Fiscal 2019
 
$
3,483,078

 
$
4,586,120

 
131.7%
The “Amount Realized” column above differs from the Summary Compensation Table “Total” column. In addition to pay actually received for fiscal 2019 performance, the Summary Compensation Table includes the accounting value of equity granted for fiscal 2019, which may or may not ever be earned. In contrast, this compensation realized table reports only the elements of compensation actually received and/or realized by Mr. Lowe for fiscal 2019 performance. Specifically, the values for equity awards in the compensation realized table above show the gross compensation (before applicable taxes) that Mr. Lowe was targeted to receive for fiscal 2019 performance upon the vesting of RSUs and PSUs, regardless of the fiscal year when these awards were granted, as compared to the value he actually received upon such vesting, if any. The reason the “Amount Realized for Fiscal 2019” for the RSUs is greater than the “Target Value” above is because Cree’s stock price has increased since the date of grant for those RSUs.
Compensation Philosophy and Objectives
The Committee believes that the compensation packages provided to the named executive officers should include both cash and stock-based compensation and should utilize performance-based compensation to reward performance as measured against established business goals, which results in increased compensation to the named executive officers if Cree meets or exceeds these goals. For fiscal 2019, the Committee endeavored to create compensation packages for the named executive officers with the general goal that approximately 75% (or more) of such individuals’ total direct compensation would be at risk, and would generally only be earned by the executives based on performance as measured against established business goals.

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For fiscal 2019, the Committee generally targeted total target cash compensation (consisting of base salary and targeted short-term cash incentives), and total target total direct compensation (consisting of total target cash compensation plus total target long-term equity compensation) for the 2019 fiscal year only, to be between the 50th and the 75th percentiles of the market data, reflecting an equity-heavy focus, with such equity to be delivered for fiscal 2019 through a mix of 50% RSUs and 50% PSUs. Actual total cash compensation, or TCC, and actual total direct compensation, or TDC, for fiscal 2019 would then vary with the performance-based elements of TCC or TDC based on corporate and individual performance for fiscal 2019. The Committee does not consider long-term equity compensation granted in prior years that have multi-year vesting and/or performance schedules in determining target total direct compensation to avoid “double counting” of compensation.
In setting fiscal 2019 compensation for the named executive officers, the Committee:
evaluated each element of compensation as compared to executives in similar roles in Cree’s Peer Group (as defined below) and the Radford Global Technology survey;
assessed the performance of the named executive officers then employed at the time, and considered the scope of responsibility and strategic impact of their respective roles within Cree;
emphasized variable and performance-based compensation to motivate executives to achieve Cree’s business objectives and align pay with performance; and
utilized equity compensation to create a culture of ownership and focus on long-term growth to ensure that equity compensation would continue to play a significant role in the total pay mix for the executives, in order to ensure their alignment with shareholder interests.
The Committee conducted a similar process for establishing the compensation package to engage Mr. Reynolds as our new CFO. In establishing the package, the Committee also evaluated the Company’s CFO compensation program as compared to Cree’s Peer Group and a broader survey of high technologies companies with comparable annual revenues with the assistance of Radford, the Company’s independent compensation consultant, to determine a competitive compensation package for our new CFO hire.
Set forth below is graphic representation of the fiscal 2019 total pay mix for Mr. Lowe, as well as the fiscal 2019 annualized total pay mix for Mr. Reynolds.
http://api.tenkwizard.com/cgi/image?quest=1&rid=23&ipage=13103128&doc=5
 
http://api.tenkwizard.com/cgi/image?quest=1&rid=23&ipage=13103128&doc=6
Compensation Process
Compensation Calendar. Our Compensation Committee employs a fairly typical and well-defined process and annual calendar in connection with making its annual compensation decisions. The Committee holds four regularly scheduled meetings each fiscal year (with such meetings always one quarter in arrears): the first Committee meeting of the fiscal year is in October (typically the day before or of our Annual Shareholder Meeting); the second Committee meeting is in January; the third Committee meeting is in late April or early May; and the last Committee meeting of a fiscal year cycle is in August (even though it is already almost two months into the subsequent fiscal year). The first two Committee meetings of a fiscal year cycle (October and January) focus mainly on organizational talent reviews and succession planning. At the May meeting, the Committee’s compensation consultants from Radford present the Committee with an overview of regulatory trends and developments in executive compensation. At the May meeting, Radford and the Committee also review Cree’s Peer Group, and make any necessary or advisable changes to the Peer Group for the upcoming fiscal year. At the August meeting, Radford presents a comprehensive analysis of Cree’s executive compensation as compared to market data and Peer Group data, and in light of these trends and developments, presents analyses and recommendations for each element of compensation for each

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named executive officer. The August meeting is the meeting where the Committee makes compensation decisions for the just-commenced fiscal year, and finalizes the prior fiscal year’s performance based compensation (i.e., determining if performance thresholds have been met).
In addition to these established meetings, the Committee also held certain off-calendar meetings during fiscal 2019 in connection with our CFO transition. These included meetings during the summer of 2018 to establish the parameters of our new CFO compensation package based on the market support provided by Radford and consistent with the Committee’s compensation philosophy for other named executive officers.
Role of Advisory (Non-binding) Shareholder Vote to Approve Executive Compensation and Shareholder Outreach. Cree provides its shareholders with the opportunity to cast an annual advisory (non-binding) vote to approve executive compensation, or the “Say-on-Pay” proposal. At our October 2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting, 94.6% of our shareholders expressed their support of our executive compensation programs, policies and practices by approving our non-binding advisory vote on executive compensation at the 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.
Cree has long viewed a continuing, constructive dialogue with our long-term shareholders as critically important to ensuring that we remain aligned with their interests. With that in mind:
We regularly speak with long-term shareholders and appreciate the opportunity to gain further insight and understanding into their views, and speak to portfolio managers at almost all of our top 35-40 shareholders at least annually, which represents approximately 85-90% or more of our outstanding shares;
We held an Investor Day in February 2018 at which analysts and portfolio managers were invited to meet with Cree’s senior leadership team to discuss Cree’s plans for fiscal 2018 and beyond, and intend to hold another Investor Day in November 2019 to discuss Cree’s plans for fiscal 2020 and beyond; and
We communicate with governance and voting personnel at almost all of our top 10 shareholders at least annually, which typically represents approximately 60-65% of our outstanding shares, to solicit feedback on our compensation programs and practices.
Based on these conversations and dialogue, the Committee continues to consider, and sometimes makes changes to, Cree’s executive compensation policies and/or decisions to address some of the specific concerns expressed by shareholders in the past. The Committee will continue to consider the outcome of Say-on-Pay votes and direct shareholder communications when making future compensation decisions for the named executive officers.
Role of Compensation Consultant. The Committee has engaged Radford, an Aon Hewitt Company, to act as the Committee’s independent compensation consultant. The Committee has assessed Radford’s independence and determined that Radford had no conflicts of interest in connection with its provision of services to the Committee. Radford reports directly to the Committee and works with management only at the Committee’s direction. For fiscal 2019, Radford was given the overall directive to assist the Committee with the following:
Reviewing the current executive compensation levels relative to the market and the Company’s performance and assist with recommendations relating thereto;
Updating recommendations for stock awards for both executives and employees as a whole;
Reviewing the current Outside Director compensation levels relative to the market and assist with recommendations;
Supporting Cree’s preparation of documents to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, such as its proxy statement and annual report, with respect to compensation matters; and
Keeping the Committee abreast of developments on executive compensation over the course of the year.
During fiscal 2019, Radford also provided market data and new-hire recommendations to assist the Committee in developing a CFO compensation package that was competitive in the market while also aligned with Cree’s pay-for-performance philosophy. Cree also purchases published compensation and benefits surveys from Radford, and on occasion, engages Radford to provide consulting services for non-executive compensation matters. The fees paid to Radford for these additional services did not exceed $120,000 in fiscal 2019.
Role of Benchmarking and Comparative Analysis (Market Data). The Committee uses market analyses provided by Radford as a reference point to evaluate the competitiveness of Cree’s compensation packages for the executive officers. Radford develops a market composite (referred to herein as “market data”) using equally weighted data from two sources: (1) public company filings from a select peer group (the “Peer Group”); and (2) the Radford Global Technology survey (composed of other technology companies of comparable size to Cree). Data from the survey is aggregated and individual company information is not determinable. Jobs of similar scope and responsibility as those at the Peer Group companies and companies included in the Radford survey are identified and a market composite is created for each of the executive officer

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roles. The Committee uses this market data to analyze base salary, short-term cash incentive compensation, TCC, equity compensation, and TDC.
Peer Group
The Committee, assisted by Radford, selects Cree’s peer group based on the following criteria:
semiconductor or semiconductor-related business;
semiconductor device companies (as opposed to equipment companies);
lighting companies;
“clean” technology companies (those who offer products and services to reduce the use of natural resources);
comparable revenue, market capitalization, and market capitalization as a multiple of revenue;
comparable number of employees;
companies against which Cree competes for executive talent;
companies that allow for sufficient room to grow without over- or under-extending; and
sensitivity to the criteria proxy advisor services (e.g., ISS and Glass Lewis) will apply when determining their “Say on Pay” recommendations.
The Committee reviews the Peer Group each year in the April/May meeting to determine if companies should be added or removed from the Peer Group list. Based on the factors listed above, Radford recommended that for Cree’s fiscal 2019 Peer Group, the Committee should consider retaining many of the same companies as were in Cree’s fiscal 2018 Peer Group. Radford also recommended that for Cree’s fiscal 2019 peer group, the Committee should consider the following:
add three companies aligned more closely with Cree’s revenue, market capitalization and intended semiconductor focus over the coming years (Cirrus Logic, Inc; Integrated Device Technology, Inc.; Synaptics Incorporated).
The Committee agreed with this recommendation. Accordingly, the Peer Group companies for Cree for fiscal 2019 were:
Acuity Brands, Inc.
Integrated Device Technology, Inc.
AVX Corporation
Littelfuse, Inc.
Belden Inc.
Marvell Technology Group Ltd.
Cirrus Logic, Inc.
Methode Electronics, Inc.
Cypress Semiconductor Corporation
Microsemi Corporation
Diodes Incorporated
National Instruments Corporation
Entegris, Inc.
Qorvo, Inc.
First Solar, Inc.
Synaptics Incorporated
Hexcel Corporation
Teradyne, Inc.
Hubbell Incorporated
ViaSat, Inc.
Radford Global Technology Survey
The Committee also considered the Radford Global Technology survey as another source of competitive data to ascertain compensation levels in the broader competitive market. For benchmarking purposes for fiscal 2019, the Committee selected data from the surveys for public high-technology companies with annual revenue levels between $1 billion and $3 billion for Messrs. Lowe and Emerson. A list of these companies can be found in Appendix A. In connection with negotiating his employment arrangements in August 2018, the Committee benchmarked compensation for Mr. Reynolds against this same set of public high technology companies. These Radford analyses included comparisons to the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles on base salary, short-term cash incentive compensation, TCC, equity compensation, and TDC.
Determination of Target Total Direct Compensation (TDC). In April 2018, as part of the Committee’s regular compensation process to determine proposed fiscal 2019 compensation, Radford presented the Committee an overview of regulatory trends and developments in executive compensation. In August 2018, again as part of the Committee’s regular compensation process to determine proposed fiscal 2019 compensation, Radford presented a comprehensive analysis of Cree’s executive compensation as compared to market data and in light of these trends and developments. Radford presented analyses of base salary, performance-based cash incentives, and equity award levels for each then serving named executive officer and made recommendations to the Committee using criteria that align with Cree’s compensation philosophy. In addition, Mr. Lowe made

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recommendations with respect to base salary adjustments for executive officers other than himself. The Committee then assessed each compensation component as described below:
Base salary increases, if any, are based on:
-
individual performance, including but not limited to, achievement of financial objectives, strategy development and implementation, and overall leadership capabilities including demonstration of the Cree values;
-
responsibilities for which the executive is accountable; and
-
relative position of the executive’s current salary to the market data for that job.
Cash-based performance incentive targets as a percentage of base salary are evaluated and approved based on the:
-
level of impact each of the respective executive officer roles has on financial and strategic results;
-
desired mix of base salary, short-term and long-term incentive compensation; and
-
relative position of the executive’s current cash-based performance incentive targets to the market data and comparable short-term incentive targets as a percent of base salary for that job.
Equity guidelines are assessed based on the:
-
level of the executive within the organization and the desire to most closely link jobs with the highest impact on financial results to the returns experienced by Cree’s shareholders;
-
scope of responsibilities for which the executive is accountable; and
-
competitive position of Cree’s target long-term equity incentive compensation as compared to the market data.
After a comprehensive review of these elements, the Committee developed target TCC and target TDC for each of the named executive officers then in office.
Determination of Financial Objectives. Each August, the Committee approves one or more annual financial targets that align with Cree’s strategic and financial goals for the coming fiscal year. The annual financial targets approved by the Committee in August 2018 for fiscal 2019 were stated in terms of Company revenue and non-GAAP gross margin. Each named executive officer’s performance is assessed as a measurement of the Company’s performance against these objectives on a Company-wide basis. Achievement of these pre-determined financial objectives by Company performance determines the initial performance incentive payout level as defined by the incentive program guidelines. After the fiscal year is complete, the Committee then has discretion to adjust the actual payouts up or down based on individual named executive officer performance.
Performance Assessment and Approval of Performance-based Cash Incentives. At the close of each fiscal year, the CEO reviews the performance of each named executive officer (other than himself) and develops a performance summary and recommendations for base salary increases. The CEO also recommends any annual payout for the performance units for the named executive officers under the LTIP, which is based on the pre-approved financial targets at prescribed payout levels as discussed above, all as previously approved by the Committee at its August meeting (at the beginning of the fiscal year). These recommendations are presented to the Committee and are one factor the Committee considers in making final compensation decisions for the recently completed fiscal year and the upcoming fiscal year.
Each August, the independent members of the Board of Directors evaluate the CEO’s performance for the just ended fiscal year. His performance is assessed based on financial results, overall leadership, and achievement of strategic objectives for that completed fiscal year. A summary of this evaluation is presented to the Committee along with the short-term incentive payout recommendation for the previous fiscal year, which is based solely on Cree’s financial performance during that previous fiscal year. The Committee then also determines the pay actions, if any, that will be taken for the CEO for the upcoming fiscal year, including target TCC and target TDC. In August 2019, as described above, the Committee determined that Company operational and strategic performance for fiscal 2019 was excellent, and as a result, the Committee determined to award Mr. Lowe 150% of his target short-term cash incentive, resulting in a total cash payment for fiscal 2019 performance to Mr. Lowe of $1,785,000, including $1,241,051 pursuant to Mr. Lowe’s performance unit award for satisfaction above his target award under the LTIP and the remaining $543,949 as a discretionary cash bonus outside of the LTIP. Similarly for Mr. Reynolds, the Committee determined that Mr. Reynolds’s performance for fiscal 2019 was excellent, and as a result, the Committee determined to award Mr. Reynolds 125% of his target short-term cash incentive, resulting in a total cash payment for fiscal 2019 performance to Mr. Reynolds of $455,000, including $379,616 pursuant to Mr. Reynolds’s performance unit award for satisfaction above his target award under the LTIP and the remaining $75,384 as a discretionary cash bonus outside of the LTIP.
Role of Tally Sheets. In making compensation decisions for the CEO for each fiscal year, the Committee members review a three-year tally sheet. The tally sheet lists the individual elements of compensation for the past three fiscal years and provides an arithmetic value and summary of the individual elements. This summary provides the Committee with the value of the CEO’s compensation package and assists the Committee in determining appropriate changes for the upcoming fiscal year. Consideration of these factors is necessarily subjective in nature and actual pay decisions involve the subjective discretion of the Committee.

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Role of Executive Officers. No executive officer, including the CEO, provides input to the Committee into setting his or her own compensation, but the CEO is provided the opportunity to make recommendations regarding the annual corporate targets. The CEO is responsible for annually evaluating the performance of all of the named executive officers (except himself), developing performance summaries and making recommendations to the Committee based on those reviews for the compensation of those executives, which reviews are one factor the Committee considers in making final compensation decisions.

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Elements of Executive Compensation and Analysis of Fiscal 2019 Compensation Decisions
The primary elements of Cree’s executive compensation program are described below. The term “market data” is described under “Role of Benchmarking and Comparative Analysis” above.
Compensation Elements
Compensation Element
Purpose
Practice
Base salary
To compensate the executive fairly and competitively for the responsibility level of the position.
Fixed compensation paid throughout the year and reviewed annually by the Committee with consideration to our stated compensation philosophy.
Performance-based cash incentive compensation
To motivate and reward organizational achievement of predetermined annual financial goals.
Variable cash based compensation linked directly to the achievement of specified corporate financial goals. The CEO and other named executive officers serving for the full fiscal year are eligible for annual payouts for performance units granted under the LTIP. Mr. McDevitt was eligible for a pro-rated cash incentive payment for fiscal 2019, as was outlined in the McDevitt Separation Agreement. For fiscal 2019, the Committee recognized the Company’s achievement of outstanding performance and desired to increase the amount of the total payout for short-term, performance-based cash incentives by awarding an additional cash bonus to Messrs. Lowe and Reynolds.
Long-term equity incentive compensation
To drive executives’ focus on long-term growth and increased shareholder value and to promote retention.
Time-based RSUs and performance-based PSUs delivered for fiscal 2019 through a mix of 50% RSUs and 50% PSUs (with the PSUs also having a 3 year cliff vesting TSR measurement). In addition to a grant of RSUs and PSUs for fiscal 2019, Mr. Reynolds was also awarded a time-based RSU sign-on grant, which vests equally over 4 years. Grants based on an evaluation of market data, corporate financial performance and potential retention risks. Equity levels vary among participants based on position and individual performance. Equity comprises a larger portion of the total direct compensation than the other pay elements.
Post-termination and severance benefits
To provide for certain limited economic security in the event an executive officer is terminated without cause or resigns with good reason.
Each named executive officer other than the CEO is covered under the SLT Severance Plan, which provides for severance benefits in the event the executive officer is terminated without cause or resigns for good reason. The SLT Severance Plan is described on page 39 below. Mr. Lowe’s post-termination and severance benefits are established under the Change in Control Agreement, which is described on page 39 below.
Other benefits
To provide competitive benefits promoting employee health and productivity.
Other benefits are generally those available to all employees. The only perquisite generally offered to named executive officers is the availability of a voluntary comprehensive physical examination once every calendar year. Mr. Reynolds received certain other benefits in connection with his relocation to North Carolina, including a cash sign on bonus of $1,500,000, which was paid in three equal amounts during the first month of his employment and on his six- and 12-month anniversaries with the Company, and moving and relocation reimbursements.

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The Committee demonstrates its commitment to paying executive officers based on performance through the design of Cree’s compensation programs and the setting of stretch goals that support Cree’s growth strategy and commitment to increasing shareholder value. The Committee is also committed to maintaining a compensation program that creates appropriate incentives and does not create risks that are reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on Cree. See “Compensation Program Risk Assessment” on page 15 for details regarding the Committee’s annual assessment of the compensation program.
Overall Program Design and Fiscal 2019 Implementation. For fiscal 2019, in August 2018 the Committee evaluated Cree’s fiscal 2018 performance to determine performance rewards for fiscal 2018 performance and as an initial reference point in setting fiscal 2019 objectives. Fiscal 2018 was a transition year for Cree, with a change in Chief Executive Officer at the beginning of the year, and revised strategy and business focus on our semiconductor businesses, especially our Wolfspeed business. Based on the fiscal 2018 performance and other factors, the Committee determined to set fiscal 2019 target TDC for the named executive officers between the 50th and 75th percentiles of the market data. The Committee applied a similar rationale in setting Mr. Reynolds’s compensation in connection with his hiring in August 2018, with his new-hire compensation package positioned at approximately the 50th percentile of the market data. Each compensation element is discussed and analyzed below along with the Committee’s decisions regarding compensation actions for fiscal 2019.
Base Salary
Base salary ranges are established for each executive officer based on job responsibilities along with the competitive range derived from market data. The Committee considers several factors when determining whether and where to set actual base salaries within the competitive range and whether to increase the base salaries. It assesses the executive’s performance against corporate and individual goals, experience, qualifications and scope of responsibilities. The Committee also assesses competitive salary practices by Peer Group companies and as reported in the Radford Global Technology survey. Further, the Committee considers the portion of each named executive officer’s TDC that is comprised of fixed compensation (base salary) and the portion that is comprised of at-risk compensation (performance based incentives). The Committee is committed to reinforcing pay-for-performance, which it does by ensuring that fixed pay is a relatively small proportion of TDC, while remaining within the market competitive range.
Given the Company’s financial performance in fiscal 2018, Mr. Lowe and Mr. Emerson were given an annual merit increase in base salary of 3% for fiscal 2019. Mr. Reynolds did not receive annual merit increases in base salary for fiscal 2019 due to the timing of his hiring in August 2018.
Executive Officer
 
Fiscal 2018 Salary
 
Fiscal 2019 Salary
 
Percentage Increase
Gregg A. Lowe
 
$
825,000

 
 
$
850,000

 
3%
Neill P. Reynolds
 
N/A

 
 
$
455,000

 
N/A
Michael E. McDevitt
 
$
455,000

 
 
$
455,000

 
0%
David T. Emerson
 
$
400,000

 
 
$
412,000

 
3%
Performance-Based Cash Incentive Compensation (LTIP)
Cree pays annual performance-based cash incentive compensation to the CEO and the other named executive officers for achievement of annual financial objectives under the Long-Term Incentive Compensation Plan (LTIP). The Committee measures the performance of Cree against annual financial objectives established at the beginning of the fiscal year.
As discussed above, the CEO and the other named executive officers are eligible to receive annual performance-based cash incentive compensation under the LTIP (referred to as performance units or performance unit awards). None of the named executive officers serving for the full fiscal year participate in any other cash-based performance incentive plan. Awards are paid based on achievement of performance goals established under the LTIP and are calculated using a pre-defined formula based on the level of Cree’s financial performance, and the target awards are expressed as a percentage of the named executive officer’s base salary. Any payments under these performance units are paid only in cash. The LTIP was designed to qualify for the former exemption from Section 162(m) for performance-based compensation, which exemption was repealed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Tax Legislation”), for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017.
In August 2018, each of Messrs. Lowe, McDevitt, Reynolds and Emerson received performance units under the LTIP for fiscal 2019 with the annual targets discussed below.
Except as provided in the Change in Control Agreement with respect to Mr. Lowe and the SLT Severance Plan with respect to the other named executive officers (including Mr. Emerson), in each case as discussed below, or with respect to death or long-term disability, (1) a named executive officer must have been continuously employed as an executive officer through the last day of the performance period; (2) the performance units would not be considered earned until the last day of the

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performance period; and (3) if the named executive officer terminated his employment prior to the last day of the performance period, with or without cause, he would have forfeited his performance units. Please see “—Additional Information—Post-Termination Arrangements—Separation, General Release and Consulting Agreement with Mr. McDevitt” for a discussion of how Mr. McDevitt’s grants for fiscal 2019 were treated during the term of his consulting relationship with the Company.
Cash Incentive Targets and Components under the LTIP
Consistent with Radford’s analysis of Cree’s executive compensation as compared to the market data, in August 2018, the Committee left the annual target cash incentive awards for fiscal 2019 unchanged for each of the then serving named executive officers. Each named executive officer’s entire target cash incentive award for fiscal 2019 was based solely on annual Cree-wide financial goals.
The target cash incentive awards for the named executive officers are summarized as follows:
Mr. Lowe’s annual target cash incentive award for fiscal 2019 remained at 140% of base salary, which put Mr. Lowe’s target TCC at approximately the 75th percentile of the market data.
Mr. Reynolds’s annual target cash incentive award for fiscal 2019 was set at 80% of base salary, which put Mr. Reynolds target TCC at approximately the 50th percentile of the market data.
Mr. Emerson’s annual target cash incentive award for fiscal 2019 was set at 80% of base salary, which put his target TCC between the 50th and the 75th percentile of the market data.
Per the McDevitt Separation Agreement, Mr. McDevitt’s annual target cash incentive award for fiscal 2019 remained at 80% of his base salary, to be prorated by the portion of the year for which he served as our CFO.

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A schematic of the plan design for Messrs. Lowe and Reynolds is shown below:
http://api.tenkwizard.com/cgi/image?quest=1&rid=23&ipage=13103128&doc=4
When determining the level of annual cash-based awards payable under the LTIP, performance against each financial measure is weighted equally in determining the amount of any annual award payout, and the annual award payout percentage is the average of the percentage of achievement of each measure, rounded to the nearest whole percentage. For fiscal 2019, in August 2018 the Committee determined that no payout would be made for the annual Company-wide financial goals unless the minimum non-GAAP gross margin threshold was achieved. Provided that the minimum non-GAAP gross margin goal was achieved, if attainment of a goal met or exceeded the minimum performance level but fell below the target, a payment would be earned of at least 50% but less than 100% of the target award opportunity for such annual corporate goal, and if attainment of a goal met or exceeded the target performance level but fell below the maximum, a payment would be earned of at least 100% but less than 200% of the target award opportunity for such corporate goal. The maximum payment for any annual award payout would be 200% of the target annual award opportunity.
Performance Goals for Fiscal 2019
For fiscal 2019, the annual financial targets approved by the Committee were stated in terms of revenue and non-GAAP gross margin. In addition, before any annual payouts could be made under the LTIP for fiscal 2019 performance, the Committee determined that a minimum non-GAAP gross margin threshold for fiscal 2019 must be met (even if the revenue target was otherwise met). Each of the minimum, target, and maximum annual goals for fiscal 2019 for each performance measure were pre-set and approved by the Committee in August 2018 based upon a comparison to the Company revenue and non-GAAP gross margin results actually achieved in fiscal 2018, as adjusted by the Committee based on certain items not expected to recur in fiscal 2019 or based on the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 “exit run rate” basis.
As a result, in August 2018 the Committee established the performance goals for fiscal 2019. When Cree agreed to sell its Lighting Products business unit in March 2019 (which sale closed in May 2019), the Committee exercised its discretion under the LTIP to adjust the performance goals for fiscal 2019 to reflect that the Lighting Products business unit became discontinued operations in the third fiscal quarter of 2019. As a result, the revised performance goals for fiscal 2019 for Cree included only the first two fiscal quarters of results of the Lighting Products business unit. The performance goal for revenue as adjusted by the Committee, or adjusted Company revenue, includes revenue from the Company’s continuing operations for all of fiscal 2019 plus revenue attributable to the Lighting Products business unit for the first six months of fiscal 2019, but excluding revenue attributable to the Lighting Products business unit during the remainder of fiscal 2019. Adjusted Company revenue used as a performance goal for fiscal 2019 therefore differs from the Company’s revenue as reported in its consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, or GAAP,

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included in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, in which the Lighting Products business unit is classified as discontinued operations for all of fiscal 2019. Similarly, in addition to excluding stock-based compensation expense and project and transaction costs consistent with the Company’s calculation of non-GAAP gross margin, the performance goal for non-GAAP gross margin as adjusted by the Committee, or adjusted Company non-GAAP gross margin, was further adjusted to include the performance of the Lighting Products business unit for the first six months of fiscal 2019 as compared to the Company’s consolidated gross margin calculated in accordance with GAAP. These adjusted performance goals for fiscal 2019 are set forth below:
Performance Goal
 
Minimum
 
Target
 
Maximum
Adjusted Company Revenue
 
$1.33B

 
$1.47B

 
$1.61B

Adjusted Company Non-GAAP gross margin %
 
30.3
%
 
34.0
%
 
35.0
%
Results and Actual Payouts for Fiscal 2019
Cree reached the 30.3% minimum level of adjusted non-GAAP gross margin required for the Company LTIP annual payments, achieving adjusted Company non-GAAP gross margin of 34.5%. Adjusted revenue was $1.35 billion, above the minimum of $1.33 billion. Accordingly, the named executive officers earned the following performance-based incentive cash awards for fiscal 2019. While the Committee does not ordinarily provide for a bonus opportunity as part of our short-term cash incentive compensation, the Committee retains discretion to pay a bonus to our named executive officers to recognize performance beyond the Committee’s expectations. For fiscal 2019, the Committee recognized the Company’s achievement of outstanding operational and strategic performance in addition to the financial performance goals above and desired to increase the amount of the total payout for short-term, performance-based cash incentives by awarding a bonus to Messrs. Lowe and Reynolds in the amounts set forth below such that his total award as a percentage of target would be 150% and 125%, respectively. In approving the discretionary cash bonuses for fiscal 2019, the Committee considered a number of key operational achievements, including continued growth of Wolfspeed and our announced plans to expand our silicon carbide and GaN capacity with the development of a state-of-the-art, automated silicon carbide and GaN fabrication facility and materials factory, divesting our Lighting Products business unit to IDEAL Industries, Inc., and signing multiple long-term silicon carbide materials supply agreements.
Executive Officer
 
Target Award
 
Actual Award Earned
 
Discretionary Cash Bonus
 
Total Amount Awarded
 
Total Award as a Percent of Target
 
Total Award as a Percent of Salary
Gregg A. Lowe
 
$
1,190,000

 
$
1,241,051

 
$
543,949

 
$
1,785,000

 
150%
 
210%
Neill P. Reynolds
 
$
364,000

 
$
379,616

 
$
75,384

 
$
455,000

 
125%
 
100%
Michael E. McDevitt1
 
$
364,000

 
$
64,463

 

 
$
64,463

 
18%
 
14%
David T. Emerson
 
$
329,600

 

 

 

 
0%
 
0%
________________
1
Pursuant to the McDevitt Separation Agreement, Mr. McDevitt received a bonus payment based upon company financial achievement and his time served as the CFO of the Company.


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LTIP Equity Awards
Equity awards are granted to the named executive officers under the shareholder-approved LTIP to align their performance with shareholder interests, provide an opportunity for these officers to increase their ownership stake in Cree, and also provide for executive officer retention. The Committee emphasizes the importance of company and shareholder value growth by endeavoring to create compensation packages for the named executive officers with the general goal that approximately 75% or more of such individuals’ TDC would be at risk, and would generally only be earned by the executives based on increasing Cree’s operating profits, which historically have been highly correlated with an increase in Cree shareholder value. As a result, for fiscal 2019, in August 2018 the Committee approved grants of RSUs and PSUs as long-term equity compensation to the then serving named executive officers (with the exception of Mr. McDevitt).
The Committee has historically approved annual equity grants under the LTIP to be made on the first business day of September. The Committee awards equity grants without regard to any scheduled or anticipated release of material information, and does not accelerate or delay equity grants in response to material information or delay the disclosure of information due to plans to make equity grants.
Fiscal 2019 Equity Awards
The Committee approved the following equity grants to the named executive officers below at its regularly scheduled August 2018 meeting. Except as noted below, the awards were granted on September 1, 2018:
Executive Officer
 
RSUs
 
PSUs
Gregg A. Lowe
 
58,737

 
100,692

Neill P. Reynolds1
 
54,887

 
12,586

Michael E. McDevitt2
 

 

David T. Emerson
 
10,488

 
10,488

________________
1
Mr. Reynolds was appointed as CFO in August 2018. His awards were approved by the Committee at the August meeting. His sign-on award of 42,301 RSUs was granted on his date of hire on August 27, 2018.
2
Mr. McDevitt did not receive any annual equity grants from Cree for fiscal 2019 in September 2018 due to his retirement as CFO.
In granting equity awards, the Committee considered Cree’s current and historical financial performance, along with each named executive officer’s demonstrated ability to sustain performance over time. The Committee also reviewed annual equity usage and assessed Cree’s historical use of shares, as compared to the Peer Group companies. Specifically, the Committee determined that Cree’s annual burn rate, net of forfeitures, as of the end of fiscal 2018 had averaged approximately 2.6% of average weighted shares outstanding for fiscal 2018, and approximately 3.0% for the three-fiscal year period, which the Committee has been advised by Radford is near the median rate among peer companies in the semiconductor industry.
Based on these considerations and the TDC analysis prepared by Radford, the Committee determined that the September 1, 2018 equity grant amounts above were appropriate, because these equity grants awarded to the named executive officers, including the PSUs, reflected a target TDC between the 50th and 75th percentiles of the market data (based on the value of such equity at the time of grant). The Committee also determined that the sign-on grant to Mr. Reynolds was appropriate to support a competitive compensation package necessary to retain a highly-qualified CFO candidate in a competitive marketplace. The Committee believes that the grant sizes at this level reinforce the focus on enhancing shareholder value and position the target TDC within the desired range, while also meeting the goal of having approximately 75% of the named executive officers’ TDC at risk.
Equity awards are reflected as compensation for fiscal 2019 in accordance with applicable reporting requirements in the Summary Compensation Table on page 41 under the “Stock Awards” column and in the Grants of Plan-Based Awards table on page 42.

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Restricted Stock Units (RSUs)
Restricted stock units (RSUs), which are subject to time-based vesting, align the interests of the named executive officers with the interests of Cree’s shareholders because the value of RSUs fluctuates with Cree’s stock price. The primary value of RSUs, however, is that they create a strong incentive for retention, as RSUs have full value to the named executive officers upon vesting.
RSUs granted in September 2018 to Messrs. Lowe, Reynolds and Emerson for fiscal 2019 vest ratably in equal annual increments over four years from the grant date. The RSUs granted to Mr. Reynolds in August 2018 as part of his sign-on equity grant in connection with his initial hiring vest ratably in equal annual increments over four years from the grant date. Vesting ends upon termination of employment, and all unvested RSUs are forfeited; however, vesting accelerates upon death or termination of employment due to disability. Under the terms of the SLT Severance Plan (or for Mr. Lowe, his Change in Control Agreement), however, vesting of RSUs may also be accelerated in certain circumstances as discussed below. Mr. McDevitt did not receive any long-term equity awards in fiscal 2019, but his outstanding RSUs continued to vest during the transition and consulting periods described in the McDevitt Separation Agreement in accordance with their terms.
Performance Stock Units (PSUs)
Performance stock units (PSUs) even further align the interests of the named executive officers with the interests of Cree’s shareholders because not only does the value of PSUs fluctuate with Cree’s stock price, but the performance criteria must first be met for the PSUs to vest. PSUs have retention incentives similar to RSUs, because PSUs will have full value to the named executive officers if the PSUs vest.
For fiscal 2019, in August 2018 the Committee approved the grant of PSUs that would vest three years after the date of grant to three of the named executive officers serving at that time (Messrs. Lowe, Reynolds, and Emerson; Mr. McDevitt did not receive a fiscal 2019 equity grant). The actual number of shares earned under the PSUs at the end of the three years will be the number of PSUs awarded times the “Payout Factor” described below. The performance thresholds for the PSUs will be based on the Company’s Relative Total Shareholder Return (RTSR) compared to a peer group of companies listed on the Nasdaq Composite Index filtered by the Semiconductor, Semiconductor Equipment, and Electronics Equipment, Instruments and Component Sectors (the TSR Peer Group) over the period beginning on September 1, 2018 and ending immediately prior to the vesting date (the “Measurement Period”). The starting value for the calculation of the Payout Factor was the 30 trading day average price for Cree common stock through September 1, 2018 and the ending value for the calculation will be the average Company share price for the 30 trading days prior to the end of the Measurement Period. The RTSR of the Company will then be compared to the peer group over the three-year period and separated into quartiles for determining the Payout Factor as follows: (i) if the Company ends in the first (top) performing quartile, the Payout Factor is 1.5; (ii) if the Company ends in the second quartile, the Payout Factor is 1.0; (iii) if the Company ends in the third quartile, the Payout Factor is 0.5; and (iv) if the Company ends in the fourth (worst) performing quartile, the Payout Factor is 0.
Relative Total Shareholder Return Ranking over Measurement Period
 
Payout % Level
75th Percentile or Higher
 
150
%
50th – 74th Percentile
 
100
%
25th – 49th Percentile
 
50
%
0 – 24th Percentile
 
0
%

Vesting of the PSUs granted in September 2018 ends upon termination of employment. Under the terms of the SLT Severance Plan, however, vesting of options, RSUs and PSUs may be accelerated in certain circumstances as discussed below. Mr. McDevitt’s outstanding equity awards granted for years prior to fiscal 2018 continued to vest during the transition and consulting periods set forth in the McDevitt Separation Agreement in accordance with their terms and the terms of the McDevitt Separation Agreement.
Additional Information
Other Benefits and Perquisites. Consistent with Cree’s compensation philosophy, the Committee seeks to limit the perquisites provided to the named executive officers. Generally, the named executive officers are eligible to participate in only those benefit and retirement programs available to other employees, including Cree’s 401(k) plan, health and welfare plans, group term life insurance plan and Cree’s employee stock purchase program. The named executive officers receive matching contributions under the 401(k) plan consistent with other participating employees. Such matching contributions for named

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executive officers for fiscal 2019 are included in the Summary Compensation Table on page 41 under the “All Other Compensation” column.
The current named executive officers are eligible to participate in a voluntary executive physical program. This benefit is intended to encourage named executive officers to receive regular comprehensive physical examinations, as their future health and well-being are important to Cree’s success. Each participant is encouraged to voluntarily elect a comprehensive physical examination once per calendar year at a facility designated by Cree.
In connection with Mr. Lowe’s appointment as CEO in late September 2017, the Company provided Mr. Lowe a lump sum relocation allotment in the amount of $50,000 per quarter (at the beginning of each fiscal quarter) for the first four quarters of employment, grossed up for income and withholding taxes based on the marginal tax rate applicable to compensation disbursed at the time of payment. This allotment was to contribute to all transitional relocation expenses, including but not limited to housing lease coverage, housing rental, storage expenses, and personal travel expenses. One remaining payment from this initial agreement was paid in fiscal 2019. Mr. Lowe will be responsible for reimbursing the Company for the relocation amounts paid to him if he resigns voluntarily or the Company terminates his employment for cause before his second anniversary of employment.
In connection with his appointment, the Company reimbursed Mr. Reynolds for his actual expenses for relocation in accordance with the Company’s relocation guidelines. Mr. Reynolds will be responsible for reimbursing the Company for a pro-rata amount of the relocation amounts paid to him if he resigns voluntarily or his employment is terminated for cause between the first and second anniversaries of his start date.
Post-Termination Arrangements. The Committee has approved the severance benefits described below following termination, both in the context of a change in control and in other circumstances, to encourage executive officers to act in Cree’s best interests without regard to potential concerns for loss of income in the event of a disagreement with management or the Board of Directors that leads to termination of employment. The Committee approved certain severance benefits in the context of a change in control for Mr. Lowe in connection with his appointment in September 2017. Following this time, the Committee determined to review all plans for severance benefits covering the other named executive officers, in addition to other employees of the Company, based in part on market data provided by Radford, with the goal of aligning the Company’s severance practices both internally and with peer company practices. As a result of this review, the Committee approved the SLT Severance Plan and conforming amendments to Mr. Lowe’s original Change in Control Agreement. The SLT Severance Plan is designed to provide severance benefits to the executives who report directly to the CEO and who serve on the senior leadership team, including Mr. Reynolds, in the event of their termination of employment without cause or their resignation for good reason. Under the Change in Control Agreement and the SLT Severance Plan, severance benefits in connection with a change in control are subject to a double-trigger feature, which means that payments are not triggered on a change in control unless, in connection with the change in control, the executive either (1) is terminated without cause (but not as a result of his death or long-term disability); or (2) terminates his employment for good reason. See “Potential Payments upon Termination or Change in Control” on page 45 below for additional information on our severance arrangements with the named executive officers.
On June 5, 2018, Mr. McDevitt and the Company mutually agreed that Mr. McDevitt would retire as CFO following a transition period. Mr. McDevitt and the Company executed a Separation, General Release and Consulting Agreement (the “McDevitt Separation Agreement”) on June 7, 2018 in order to provide for an orderly transition to a new CFO; to govern the Company’s relationship with Mr. McDevitt during the transition period; and to establish that the separation benefits provided under the McDevitt Separation Agreement are in lieu of any benefits Mr. McDevitt might have been entitled to receive under any Company plan or agreement, including the SLT Severance Plan and the LTIP and its predecessor plan and Mr. McDevitt’s award agreements under each such plan. The transition period ended on August 27, 2018 when Mr. Reynolds became the new CFO of the Company. Mr. McDevitt remained as an employee of the Company for the remainder of calendar 2018 before beginning a period as a consultant to the Company for a 12-month period in January 2019. The separation benefits provided in the McDevitt Separation Agreement will be compensation for Mr. McDevitt’s consulting services during the consulting term. Pursuant to the McDevitt Separation Agreement, because Mr. McDevitt was employed as Cree’s CFO during a portion of fiscal 2019, he was granted a new cash performance award for fiscal 2019, with a target award of $364,000 and making Mr. McDevitt eligible to receive, if earned based on Company performance for all of fiscal 2019, a pro-rata bonus for the portion of the fiscal year during which he served as CFO. Upon termination of Mr. McDevitt’s employment, inclusive of the transition period, Mr. McDevitt was entitled to the separation benefits described in more detail below under “Potential Payments upon Termination or Change in Control—McDevitt Separation Agreement” beginning on page 49.

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Section 162(m) Treatment Regarding Performance-Based Equity Awards. The Committee has historically reviewed and considered the deductibility of executive compensation under Section 162(m), which provides that Cree may not be able to deduct compensation of more than $1,000,000 that is paid to certain executive officers (“covered employees”). For taxable years ending December 31, 2017 and earlier, this limitation did not apply to compensation that was considered “performance-based compensation,” including certain stock and cash incentive compensation under the LTIP, under the rules of Section 162(m). Historically, Cree sought to structure the performance-based portion of the compensation of the executive officers in a manner that complied with Section 162(m) when Cree considered it to be in Cree’s best interests, taking into account all relevant factors. The exemption from Section 162(m)’s deduction limitation for performance-based compensation has been repealed by the Tax Legislation, effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, such that compensation paid to our covered employees in excess of $1,000,000 will not be deductible unless it qualifies for transition relief applicable to certain written binding arrangements in place as of November 2, 2017 and not materially modified or renewed thereafter. The definition of “covered employees” was also expanded to include a company’s chief financial officer (in addition to the chief executive officer and three other most highly paid executive officers), plus any individual who has been a “covered employee” in any taxable year beginning after December 31, 2016. The Committee continues to evaluate the changes to Section 162(m) and their significance to our compensation programs. While the Committee seeks to preserve the deductibility of compensation payable to the executive officers, the Committee also believes that it is important to maintain flexibility in administering compensation programs in a manner designed to promote varying corporate goals and tax deductibility is only one among a variety of factors that the Committee may consider in determining appropriate levels or forms of compensation.
Share Ownership Guidelines. The Board of Directors has adopted Corporate Governance Principles for Cree that include share ownership guidelines for members of the Board of Directors and executive officers. Under these guidelines, within five years after election or appointment:
the CEO is expected to own shares with a value not less than five times his base salary;
each other executive officer is expected to own shares with a value not less than two times the officer’s base salary; and
each non-employee member of the Board of Directors is expected to own shares with a value not less than five times the sum of the director’s retainers for service on the Board and on Board Committees.
Presently all directors and executive officers are within these guidelines.
Anti-Pledging and Hedging Policies. Cree has adopted a Securities Trading Policy that prevents our named executive officers or directors from entering into any pledging or margin account transactions in Cree stock. In addition, Cree revised its Securities Trading Policy in August 2019 to provide that hedging transactions in Cree stock are prohibited for all employees and directors.
Compensation Committee Report
The Compensation Committee met on August 26, 2019 and reviewed and discussed the Compensation Discussion and Analysis with management and, based on such review and discussions, the Compensation Committee recommended to the Board of Directors that the Compensation Discussion and Analysis be included in this proxy statement.
  
THE COMPENSATION COMMITTEE

Thomas H. Werner, Chairman
Duy-Loan T. Le
Anne C. Whitaker

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Summary of Cash and Certain Other Compensation
The following table summarizes the compensation of the Company’s chief executive officer and all other persons who served as named executive officers during fiscal 2019.
Summary Compensation Table
Name and Principal Position
 
Year
 
Salary
($)
 
Bonus
($)
 
Stock
Awards
($) (1)
 
Non-Equity Incentive Plan
Compensation
($)
 
All Other Compensation
($) (2)
 
Total
($)
(a)
 
(b)
 
(c)
 
(d)
 
(e)
 
(g)
 
(i)
 
(j)
Gregg A. Lowe
 
2019
 
$
845,184

 
$
543,949

(3)
$
7,670,129

 
$
1,241,051

 
$
148,558

(4)
 
$
10,448,871

CEO and President
 
2018
 
$
580,666

 

 
$
11,583,043

 
$
859,904

 
$
399,651

 
 
$
13,423,264

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Neill P. Reynolds
 
2019
 
$
358,750

 
$
1,075,384

(6)
$
2,605,504

 
$
379,616

 
$
136,275

(7)
 
$
4,555,529

Executive Vice President and CFO (5)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Michael E. McDevitt
 
2019
 
$
245,000

 

 

 
$
64,463

 
$
366,643

(8)
 
$
676,106

Former Executive Vice President
 
2018
 
$
455,004

 

 
$
1,464,454

 
$
100,000

 
$
9,450

 
 
$
2,028,908

and CFO
 
2017
 
$
455,004

 

 
$
1,336,999

 

 
$
8,901

 
 
$
1,800,904

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
David T. Emerson
 
2019
 
$
409,698

 

 
$
1,009,155

 

 
$
11,906

 
 
$
1,430,759

Former Executive Vice President–
 
2018
 
$
397,223

 

 
$
1,009,939

 
$
258,880

 
$
7,875

 
 
$
1,673,917

LED Products
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
________________
(1)
Represents the aggregate grant date fair value of service-based RSUs and PSUs granted during the fiscal years shown calculated in accordance with Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification Topic 718, Compensation—Stock Compensation, or ASC Topic 718. The aggregate grant date fair value is the amount we expect to expense in our financial statements over the award’s vesting schedule. See Note 14 to our consolidated financial statements included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2019 for assumptions used in the calculations. There can be no assurance that the ASC Topic 718 grant date fair value amounts will ever be realized.
(2)
Amounts listed in column (i) include matching contributions to the 401(k) retirement plan. Except as otherwise described below, no named executive officer received perquisites and personal benefits valued, in the aggregate, at $10,000 or more. Therefore, in accordance with Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure rules, this column does not reflect the value of the perquisites and personal benefits received for fiscal 2017 through 2019 unless otherwise noted or previously disclosed.
(3)
The amount reported includes the portion of Mr. Lowe’s short-term cash incentive awarded by the Compensation Committee as an additional cash bonus in excess of the amount earned under his performance unit award for fiscal 2019.
(4)
The amount reported includes relocation and housing expenses of $139,404 in connection with Mr. Lowe’s hiring and tax gross-ups in connection therewith.
(5)
Mr. Reynolds was appointed as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer on August 27, 2018.
(6)
The amount reported includes (a) in connection with Mr. Reynolds’s appointment as Executive Vice President and CFO, the cash payment of $500,000 Mr. Reynolds received within the first month of his employment and the separate cash payment of $500,000 on his six-month anniversary with the Company, and (b) the portion of Mr. Reynolds’s short-term cash incentive awarded by the Compensation Committee as an additional cash bonus in excess of the amount earned under his performance unit award for fiscal 2019.
(7)
The amount reported includes (a) relocation and housing expenses of $117,936 in connection with Mr. Reynolds’s hiring and tax gross-ups in connection therewith, in each case in accordance with the Company’s relocation guidelines, and (b) reimbursement for attorneys’ fees in the amount of $6,789.
(8)
The amount reported includes $364,000 paid pursuant to the McDevitt Separation Agreement (see “Compensation Discussion and Analysis—Additional Information—Post-Termination Arrangements—Separation, General Release and Consulting Agreement with Mr. McDevitt” above for more information).


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Grants of Equity and Non-Equity Incentive Awards
The following table provides information about RSUs, PSUs and non-equity incentive plan awards granted to the named executive officers during fiscal 2019. All RSUs and PSUs were granted under the LTIP. No stock options were granted to the named executive officers in fiscal 2019.
Grants of Plan-Based Awards in Fiscal 2019
 
 
Grant Date
 
Approval Date
 
Estimated
Possible Payouts
Under Non-Equity
Incentive Plan
Awards (1)
 
Estimated
Possible Payouts
Under Equity
Incentive Plan
Awards (2)
 
All Other
Stock
Awards:
Number
of Shares
of Stock
or Units
(#) (3)
 
All Other Option
Awards:
Number of Securities Underlying Options
(#)
 
Exercise
or Base
Price of Option Awards
($/Sh)
 
Grant
Date Fair
Value of
Stock and Option
Awards
($)
Name
 
 
Threshold ($)
 
Target
($)
 
Maximum ($)
 
Threshold (#)
 
Target
(#)
 
Maximum (#)
 
Gregg A.
 
 
 
 
 
$
595,000

 
$
1,190,000

 
$
2,380,000

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Lowe
 
9/1/2018
 
8/20/2018
 

 

 

 
75,519

 
100,692

 
151,038

 

 

 

 
$
4,844,292

 
 
9/1/2018
 
8/20/2018
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
58,737

 

 

 
$
2,825,837

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Neill P.
 
 
 
 
 
$
182,000

 
$
364,000

 
$
728,000

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Reynolds
 
9/1/2018
 
8/20/2018
 

 

 

 
9,440

 
12,586

 
15,733

 

 

 

 
$
605,512

 
 
9/1/2018
 
8/20/2018
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
12,586

 

 

 
$
605,512

 
 
8/27/2018
 
8/20/2018
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
42,301

 

 

 
$
1,999,991

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Michael E.
 
 
 
 
 
$
30,906

 
$
61,811

 
$
123,623

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

McDevitt
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
David T.
 
 
 
 
 
$
164,800

 
$
329,600

 
$
659,200

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Emerson
 
9/1/2017
 
8/28/2017
 

 

 

 
7,866

 
10,488

 
13,110

 

 

 

 
$
504,578

 
 
9/1/2017
 
8/28/2017
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
10,488

 

 

 
$
504,578

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
________________
(1)
Non-equity incentive plan awards represent the threshold, target and maximum amounts of cash incentive compensation payable under the performance units granted under the LTIP.  For Mr. McDevitt, these amounts have been prorated by the portion of the year for which he served as CFO in accordance with the McDevitt Separation Agreement. The actual amounts earned are disclosed in the “Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation” column of the “Summary Compensation Table.”  Threshold payment amounts assume only the attainment of the minimum goals and are paid at 50% of the target incentive.  Target payment amounts are paid at 100% of the target incentive and assume goal attainment of 100% of the target goals.  Maximum payment amounts reflect the payout cap of 200% of the target incentive, which assumes goal attainment of the maximum goals.  Annual corporate financial targets for Messrs. Lowe, Reynolds, McDevitt and Emerson for fiscal 2019 were solely based on Cree-wide financial targets. For additional information regarding the LTIP and performance units, see “Compensation Discussion and Analysis” above.
(2)
PSUs are granted at target on the grant date. Actual shares awarded on the third anniversary of the grant date is based on the payout factor that corresponds with the Company’s RTSR percentile rank compared to the TSR Peer Group. Maximum opportunity is 150% of the target if the Company ranks in the top quartile, target is 100% if the Company ranks in the second quartile, threshold is 50% if the Company ranks in the third quartile and no payout if the Company ranks in the fourth (bottom) quartile.
(3)
The RSUs granted to Messrs. Lowe, Reynolds and Emerson vest in four annual installments commencing on the first anniversary of the date of grant, provided the recipient continues service as an employee or as a member of the Board of Directors.

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Outstanding Equity Awards
The following table provides information about outstanding equity awards held by the named executive officers as of June 30, 2019.
Outstanding Equity Awards at 2019 Fiscal Year-End
 
 
Option Awards (1)
 
Stock Awards (1)
Name
 
Number of Securities Underlying Unexercised Options (#)
Exercisable
 
Number of Securities Underlying Unexercised Options (#)
Unexercisable
 
Option
Exercise
Price
($/Sh)
 
Option Expiration
Date (2)
 
Number of
Shares or
Units of Stock
That Have
Not
Vested (#)
 
Market Value of
Shares or Units
of Stock That
Have Not
Vested
($) (3)
 
Equity Incentive
Plan Awards:
Number of
Unearned Shares,
Units or Other
Rights That Have
Not Vested (#)
 
Equity Incentive
Plan Awards:
Market or Payout
Value of Unearned
Shares, Units or
Other Rights That
Have Not Vested ($)
Gregg A.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
215,377

(4)
 
$
12,099,880

 
 
 
 
 
Lowe
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
309,546

(5)
 
$
17,390,294

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Neill P.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
54,887

(6)
 
$
3,083,552

 
 
 
 
 
Reynolds
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
12,586

(7)
 
$
707,081

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Michael E.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
47,488

(8)
 
$
2,667,876

 
 
 
 
 
McDevitt
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
31,935

(9)
 
$
1,794,108

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
David T.
 
9,000

 
 
 
 
$
54.60

 
9/3/2020
 
56,428

(10)
 
$
3,170,125

 
 
 
 
 
Emerson
 
9,000

 
 
 
 
$
45.13

 
9/2/2021
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
29,486

(11)
 
$
1,656,467

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
________________
(1)    The option awards, RSUs and PSUs listed were granted under the LTIP or the Company’s 2004 Long-Term Incentive Compensation Plan, as amended, or the 2004 LTIP.
(2)    Each option expires on the earlier of the expiration date shown or 90 days after termination of the recipient’s employment, except in cases of death or termination due to a long-term disability.
(3)    Market value of shares that have not vested is based on $56.18 per share (the closing price of our common stock as reported by Nasdaq on June 30, 2019, the last business day of fiscal 2019).
(4)    Includes RSUs that vest as to 14,685 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2019, as to 52,214 shares cumulatively on September 27, 2019, as to 14,684 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2020, as to 52,214 shares cumulatively on September 27, 2020, as to 14,684 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2021, as to 52,212 shares cumulatively on September 27, 2021, and as to 14,684 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2022.
(5)    Includes PSUs that vest as to 208,854 shares cumulatively on September 27, 2020, and as to 100,692 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2021, if the applicable performance targets for each period are satisfied (assuming a payout factor of 100%).
(6)    Includes RSUs that vest as to 10,576 shares cumulatively on August 27, 2019, as to 3,147 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2019, as to 10,575 shares cumulatively on August 27, 2020, as to 3,147 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2020, as to 10,575 shares cumulatively on August 27, 2021, as to 3,146 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2021, as to 10,575 shares cumulatively on August 27, 2022, and as to 3,146 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2022.
(7)    Includes PSUs that vest as to 12,586 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2021, if the applicable performance targets for each period are satisfied (assuming a payout factor of 100%).
(8)    Includes RSUs that vest as to 24,264 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2019, as to 15,725 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2020, and as to 7,499 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2021.
(9)    Includes PSUs that vest as to 21,936 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2019, and as to 9,999 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2020, if the applicable performance targets for each period are satisfied (assuming a payout factor of 100%). PSUs vesting on September 1, 2019 include shares that were unearned at the end of the 2017 fiscal year performance period and the 2018 fiscal year performance period and, pursuant to the terms of the PSUs, will be earned together with the fiscal 2019 portion of such award based on the Committee’s determination that the non-GAAP operating income performance objective for fiscal 2019 has been achieved.
(10)    Includes RSUs that vest as to 17,043 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2019, as to 8,319 shares cumulatively on June 1, 2020, as to 12,332 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2020, as to 8,319 shares

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cumulatively on June 1, 2021, as to 7,793 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2021, and as to 2,622 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2022.
(11)    Includes PSUs that vest as to 12,102 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2019, as to 6,895 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2020, and as to 10,488 shares cumulatively on September 1, 2021, if the applicable performance targets for each period are satisfied (assuming a payout factor of 100%). PSUs vesting on September 1, 2019 include shares that were unearned at the end of the 2017 fiscal year performance period and the 2018 fiscal year performance period and, pursuant to the terms of the PSUs, will be earned together with the fiscal 2019 portion of such award based on the Committee’s determination that the non-GAAP operating income performance objective for fiscal 2019 has been achieved.
Stock Option Exercises and Vesting of Restricted Stock
The following table provides information about option exercises and vesting of RSUs held by the named executive officers during fiscal 2019.
Option Exercises and Stock Vested in Fiscal 2019
 
 
Option Awards
 
Stock Awards
 
Name
 
Number of
Shares Acquired
on Exercise(#)
 
Value
Realized on
Exercise ($)
 
Number of
Shares Acquired
on Vesting (#)
 
Value
Realized on
Vesting ($)
Gregg A. Lowe
 

 

 
52,214

 
$
1,955,936

(1)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Neill P. Reynolds
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Michael E. McDevitt
 
82,000

 
$
1,691,135

 
28,265

 
$
1,359,829

(2)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
David T. Emerson
 
70,000

 
$
1,701,480

 
16,672

 
$
802,090

(2)
 
 
 
 
 
 
8,319

 
$
458,710

(3)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
________________
(1)
For RSUs, the value realized on vesting is based on $37.46 per share (the closing price of our common stock as reported by Nasdaq on September 27, 2018).
(2)
For this grant of RSUs, the value realized on vesting is based on $48.11 per share (the closing price of our common stock as reported by Nasdaq on September 1, 2018).
(3)
For this grant of RSUs, the value realized on vesting is based on $55.14 per share (the closing price of our common stock as reported by Nasdaq on June 1, 2019).

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Potential Payments upon Termination or Change in Control
We have various arrangements that provide the named executive officers with specified benefits if their employment is terminated under certain circumstances, as described below. In addition, these named executive officers participate in various benefit plans that may provide them with acceleration of equity awards or payments under certain circumstances, as described below.
Payments to the Currently Employed Named Executive Officers Made Upon Termination Without Cause or Resignation for Good Reason in Connection with a Change in Control
The Change in Control Agreement with Mr. Lowe and the SLT Severance Plan for the other currently employed named executive officers in each case provide for certain payments to be made upon termination without cause or resignation for good reason in connection with a change in control. Mr. Lowe (under the Change in Control Agreement) and Mr. Reynolds and Emerson (under the SLT Severance Plan), if his employment is terminated by us without cause but not as a result of his death or long-term disability, or by the executive for good reason, and the termination was in connection with a change in control, will be entitled to receive the following benefits:
Change in Control Agreement (Mr. Lowe):
 
SLT Severance Plan:
continued payment of Mr. Lowe’s base salary for 24 months;
 
continued payment of the executive’s regular salary for 18 months;
a lump sum payment equal to two times his target annual incentive award for the fiscal year in which the termination occurs;
 
a lump sum payment equal to 1.5 times the executive’s target annual incentive award for the year in which the termination occurs;
a lump sum payment equal to 24 multiplied by the COBRA premium in effect for the type of medical, dental, and vision coverage then in effect for Mr. Lowe;
 
a lump sum payment equal to 18 multiplied by the COBRA premium in effect for the type of medical, dental, and vision coverage then in effect for the executive;
full accelerated vesting with respect to his then outstanding, unvested RSUs and other equity awards that vest solely based on the passage of time, and full accelerated vesting with respect to his then outstanding, unvested PSUs, with all performance objectives deemed to have been satisfied at the greater of (i) the target level (target being a Payout Factor of 1); (ii) the actual performance level (with the date of the Change in Control being treated as the ending date for the measurement period and the effective stock price of the Change in Control being used for the calculation of relative total shareholder return); and
 
accelerated vesting of RSUs and options that are subject to time-based vesting requirements only, so that they become vested by the date employment terminates, and deemed vesting of any unvested PSUs at the greater of (i) the target level and (ii) the actual performance level; and
reimbursement by the Company for any loss incurred in the sale of Mr. Lowe’s primary North Carolina residence.
 
outplacement benefits for 12 months.
In the event amounts payable under the Change in Control Agreement or SLT Severance Plan, as applicable or otherwise are contingent on a change in control for purposes of Section 280G of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, and it is determined that any payment or benefit made or provided to the executive would be subject to the excise tax imposed by Section 4999 of the Code, the payments to such executive under the Change in Control Agreement or SLT Severance Plan, as applicable, will either be (i) paid in full or (ii) reduced to an amount that would not trigger the Section 280G-related excise tax, whichever results in the executive receiving the greatest after tax payment.
The Change in Control Agreement also provides that, if Mr. Lowe becomes generally disabled and his employment is terminated before he becomes eligible for benefits under our long-term disability program or if he elects to resign for good reason because the Company does not restore him to his prior position and level of

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authority after he ceases to be generally disabled, in each case in connection with a change in control, he will be entitled to severance benefits under the Change in Control Agreement.
Payments to the Currently Employed Named Executive Officers Made Upon Termination Without Cause or Resignation for Good Reason Not in Connection with a Change in Control
The Change in Control Agreement with Mr. Lowe and the SLT Severance Plan for the other currently employed named executive officers (for fiscal 2019, Mr. Reynolds) in each case provide for certain payments to be made upon termination without cause or resignation for good reason not in connection with a change in control. Mr. Lowe (under the Change in Control Agreement) and Messrs. Reynolds and Emerson (under the SLT Severance Plan), if his employment is terminated by us without cause but not as a result of his death or long-term disability, or by the executive for good reason, and the termination was not in connection with a change in control, will be entitled to receive the following benefits:
Change in Control Agreement (Mr. Lowe):
 
SLT Severance Plan:
continued payment of Mr. Lowe’s base salary for 18 months;
 
continued payment of the executive’s base salary for 12 months;
a lump sum payment equal to 1.5 times his target annual incentive award for the fiscal year in which the termination occur;
 
a lump sum payment equal to the executive’s annual incentive award for the fiscal year in which the termination occurred;
a lump sum payment equal to 18 multiplied by the COBRA premium in effect for the type of medical, dental, and vision coverage then in effect for Mr. Lowe;
 
reimbursement for the additional costs of continuing the executive’s group medical, dental and vision coverage under COBRA for 12 months or until he is eligible for new healthcare coverage, whichever is shorter;
continued vesting of RSUs and options granted to Mr. Lowe under the LTIP that are subject to time-based vesting requirements only during the 18 months following the date of employment termination as if Mr. Lowe’s employment had not terminated, and continued vesting during the 18 months following the date of termination of PSUs in accordance with the terms of such awards as if Mr. Lowe’s employment had not terminated, although PSUs that may vest will be paid out based upon actual Company performance in accordance with the terms of the LTIP and the applicable award agreement, including prorating for the portion of time Mr. Lowe provided services to the Company over the course of the applicable performance period and such additional 18-month period, as applicable; and
 
continued vesting of RSUs and options during the 12 months following the date of employment termination as if the executive’s employment had not terminated, and continued vesting of PSUs during the 12 months following the date of termination in accordance with the terms of such awards as if the executive’s employment had not terminated, although PSUs that may vest will be paid out based upon actual Company performance in accordance with the terms of the LTIP and the applicable award agreement, including prorating for the portion of time the executive provided services to the Company over the course of the applicable performance period and such additional 12-month period, as applicable; and
in the event that Mr. Lowe’s employment is terminated on or before October 31, 2019, reimbursement by the Company for any loss incurred in the sale of Mr. Lowe’s primary North Carolina residence.
 
outplacement benefits for 12 months.
Further Conditions to Severance Benefits
As a condition to the receipt of the benefits described above under the Change in Control Agreement, Mr. Lowe must (i) sign and not revoke a release of claims, (ii) refrain from disparaging the Company, its directors, or its officers for 24 months after termination, and (iii) continue to comply with the terms of the standard form of employee agreement regarding confidential information, intellectual property and noncompetition between Mr.

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Lowe and the Company (the “Confidential Information Agreement”), as amended by the Change in Control Agreement. Pursuant to the Change in Control Agreement, the period during which such noncompetition provisions of the Confidential Information Agreement apply will be (x) 24 months following Mr. Lowe’s termination (or such longer period used to calculate continued salary payments) in the event that he is entitled to severance payments in connection with a change in control as described above or (y) 18 months in the event that Mr. Lowe is entitled to severance payments not in connection with a change in control.
As a condition of eligibility to participate in the SLT Severance Plan, each executive must (i) sign and not revoke a release of claims, (ii) sign a participation agreement under which, among other things, such executive agrees to waive any rights he might still have under certain other Company sponsored severance program; and (iii) continue to comply with the terms of the executive’s Confidential Information Agreement, which, in the event that the executive is entitled to severance payments in connection with a change in control as described above, will be amended by the release to provide that the post-separation restrictive period applicable to the noncompetition and nonsolicitation provisions contained therein will extended until the end of the 18-month period following the executive’s termination date (or such longer period used to calculate continued salary payments).
Definitions
The terms “cause,” “good reason,” “change in control” and “in connection with a change in control” are defined in the Change in Control Agreement and SLT Severance Plan as follows:
“Cause” means:
Change in Control Agreement (Mr. Lowe):
 
SLT Severance Plan:
Mr. Lowe’s willful and continued failure to substantially perform the reasonable and lawful duties and responsibilities of his position that is not corrected after one written warning detailing the concerns and offering Mr. Lowe a reasonable period of time to cure;
 
an executive’s willful and continued failure to substantially perform the reasonable and lawful duties and responsibilities of the executive’s position that is not corrected after one written warning detailing the concerns and offering him a reasonable period of time to cure;
any material and willful violation of any federal or state law by Mr. Lowe in connection with his responsibilities as an employee of the Company;
 
any material and willful failure of an executive to comply with Company policies (including but not limited to the Company’s Code of Conduct), applicable government laws, rules and regulations and/or reasonable directives of the CEO or Board of Directors;
any act of personal dishonesty taken by Mr. Lowe in connection with his responsibilities as an employee of the Company with the intention or reasonable expectation that such may result in his personal enrichment;
 
any dishonest or illegal action (including, without limitation, embezzlement) or any other action whether or not dishonest or illegal by an executive which is materially detrimental to the interest and well-being of the Company, including, without limitation, harm to its reputation;
Mr. Lowe’s conviction of, or plea of nolo contendere to, or grant of prayer of judgment continued with respect to, a felony that the Board of Directors reasonably believes has had or will have a material detrimental effect on the Company’s reputation or business; or
 
an executive’s conviction of, or plea of nolo contendere to, or grant of prayer of judgment continued with respect to, a felony that the Board of Directors reasonably believes has had or will have a material detrimental effect on the Company’s reputation or business;
Mr. Lowe materially breaching his Confidential Information Agreement, which breach is not cured.
 
an executive’s material breach of his Confidential Information Agreement.

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Change in Control Agreement (Mr. Lowe):
 
SLT Severance Plan:
 
 
 
an executive’s failure to fully disclose any material conflict of interest that he may have with the Company in a transaction between the Company and any third party which is materially detrimental to the interest and well-being of the Company; or
 
 
 
an executive’s commission of any act or omission that has caused or could cause material reputational damage to the Company.
“Good reason” generally mean the occurrence of any of the following without the executive’s consent, and not due to cause, within the timeframes specified in the definition of “in connection with a change in control” below, if applicable, subject to certain notice and cure provisions:
Change in Control Agreement (Mr. Lowe):
 
SLT Severance Plan:
a material reduction in Mr. Lowe’s authority, duties or responsibilities, including removal from, or a failure to elect Mr. Lowe to, the Board of Directors;
 
a material reduction in the executive’s authority, duties or responsibilities, provided however, that this will not apply to the sale, transfer or other disposition of all or substantially all of the stock or assets of a business unit for which the applicable executive was not the primary executive responsible;
a material reduction in Mr. Lowe’s base salary or target annual and long-term incentive compensation, other than a one-time reduction in either case that also is applied to substantially all other executive officers of the Company, provided that Mr. Lowe’s reduction is substantially proportionate to the reduction applied to substantially all other executive officers;
 
a material reduction in the executive’s annual base salary, target annual compensation (bonus), or long-term incentive compensation (including, but not limited to equity compensation);
the Company requiring Mr. Lowe to report to anyone other than the Board of Directors; or
 
the Company requiring the executive to report to anyone other than the CEO of Cree; or
the Company requiring Mr. Lowe to relocate his principal place of business or the Company relocating its headquarters, in either case to a facility or location outside of a 35 mile radius (or such longer distance that is the minimum permissible distance under the circumstances for purposes of the involuntary separation from service standards under the Treasury Regulations or other guidance under Section 409A of the Code) from Mr. Lowe’s current principal place of employment.
 
the Company requiring the executive to relocate his principal place of business or the Company relocating its headquarters, in either case to a facility or location outside of a 35 mile radius from his current principal place of employment.
“Change in control” generally means any of the following events:
any person or group of persons becomes the beneficial owner of 50% or more of our outstanding common stock or the combined voting power of our securities entitled to vote generally in the election of directors;
a sale or other disposition of all or substantially all of our assets;
shareholder approval of a definitive agreement or plan to liquidate our company;

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a merger or consolidation of our company with and into another entity, unless immediately following such transaction (1) more than 50% of the members of the governing body of the surviving entity were incumbent directors at the time of execution of the initial agreement providing for such transaction; (2) no person or group of persons is the beneficial owner, directly or indirectly, of 50% or more of the equity interests of the surviving entity or the combined voting power of the equity interests of the surviving entity entitled to vote generally in the election of members of its governing body; and (3) more than 50% of the equity interests of the surviving entity and the combined voting power of the equity interests of the surviving entity entitled to vote generally in the election of members of its governing body is beneficially owned, directly or indirectly, by all or substantially all of the individuals and entities who were the beneficial owners of the shares of common stock immediately prior to such transaction in substantially the same proportions as their ownership immediately prior to such transaction;
A change in the majority of the incumbent directors of the Board of Directors during a consecutive 24-month period during the executive’s employment term, excluding such changes resulting from directors who are elected by, or on the recommendation of or with the approval of, at least two-thirds of the directors qualifying as incumbent directors; or
in the case of the SLT Severance Plan, the sale, transfer or other disposition of all or substantially all of the stock or assets of a business unit of Cree or a similar transaction as the Board of Directors, in its sole discretion, may determine to be a “change in control”; provided, however, that “change in control” will not include (1) a transaction the sole purpose of which is to change the state of our incorporation; or (2) the initial public offering of the stock of a Business Unit of our company, and any subsequent sell down of the stock of the Business Unit by our company.
“In connection with a change in control” means either:
within the period of time between the commencement of a tender offer or our entry into a written agreement with another party that contemplates a transaction, the consummation of either of which would result in a change in control and the occurrence of either the resulting change in control or the termination or expiration of the tender offer or the written agreement without the occurrence of a change in control; or
within 24 months following a change in control.
McDevitt Separation Agreement
On June 5, 2018, Mr. McDevitt and the Company mutually agreed that Mr. McDevitt would retire as CFO following a transition period. Mr. McDevitt and the Company executed the McDevitt Separation Agreement on June 7, 2018 in order to provide for an orderly transition to a new CFO; to govern the Company’s relationship with Mr. McDevitt during the transition period; and to establish that the separation benefits provided under the McDevitt Separation Agreement are in lieu of any benefits Mr. McDevitt might have been entitled to receive under any Company plan or agreement, including the SLT Severance Plan and the LTIP and its predecessor plan and Mr. McDevitt’s award agreements under each such plan. Upon termination of Mr. McDevitt’s employment, inclusive of the transition period (such date of termination, the “separation date”), Mr. McDevitt was entitled to the following separation benefits under the McDevitt Separation Agreement:
$455,000, which amount is equal to Mr. McDevitt’s base salary to be paid in equal monthly installments over the 12 months following the separation date;
$364,000, which amount is equal to Mr. McDevitt’s annual targeted bonus opportunity at target for fiscal 2019;
reimbursement for the additional costs of continuing Mr. McDevitt’s Company-sponsored group medical, dental, and vision coverage under COBRA applicable to the type of medical, dental, and vision coverage in effect for Mr. McDevitt as of the separation date for the 12-month period following the separation date, or until he is eligible for new group healthcare coverage, whichever is shorter;
outplacement benefits for a 12-month period; and
conditioned on Mr. McDevitt’s fulfillment of his obligations for consulting, continued compliance with all other terms of the McDevitt Separation Agreement through each applicable vesting date, and upon execution and delivery of a supplemental release, (i) any RSUs granted to Mr. McDevitt under the

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LTIP that are subject to time-based vesting requirements only and that are unvested as of the separation date would continue to vest during the consulting term and would continue to vest or settle and pay out in accordance with the time-based vesting schedule that would have applied had Mr. McDevitt’s employment not terminated; and (ii) any unvested PSUs granted to Mr. McDevitt under the LTIP prior to the separation date would continue to vest during the consulting term in accordance with the terms of the awards and would be paid out, if at all, based upon actual Company performance in accordance with the terms of the LTIP and the applicable award agreement, including prorating for the portion of time Mr. McDevitt provided services to the Company over the course of the applicable performance period and the consulting term, as applicable. At the end of the consulting term, any remaining unvested RSUs that are subject to time-based vesting would accelerate and would immediately vest in full and any remaining unvested PSUs would be forfeited (other than the pro-rated portion of any such unvested PSUs for which Mr. McDevitt provided services to the Company over the course of the applicable performance period and the consulting term, as applicable).
LTIPs
The LTIP and the 2004 LTIP (collectively, the “LTIPs”) provide for potential acceleration of equity awards in the event of a proposed sale of all or substantially all of our assets or stock, the merger of our company with or into another corporation such that our shareholders immediately prior to the merger exchange their shares of stock for cash and/or shares of another entity or any other corporate transaction to which the Compensation Committee deems appropriate. Upon such an event, if the successor corporation does not agree to assume the outstanding equity awards or to substitute equivalent awards, the Compensation Committee has discretion to provide for the participants in the LTIPs to have the right to exercise, for a period of 15 days, their stock options or other awards as to all shares, including shares as to which the options or other awards would not otherwise be exercisable (or with respect to restricted stock or stock units, provide that all restrictions will lapse). The stock options or other awards will terminate upon the expiration of the 15-day period to the extent not exercised.
The award agreements under the LTIPs provide for accelerated vesting of nonqualified stock options, RSUs, and PSUs in the event of a participant’s death or upon the effective date of the determination of the executive officer’s long-term disability. For PSUs, vesting is accelerated in full on the date of death or on the effective date of the determination of the disability at the greater of (a) the target level and (b) the actual performance level (with the date of death or on the effective date of the determination of disability being treated as the ending date for the measurement period.
Amounts of Potential Payments upon Termination or Change in Control
The following table provides information concerning the estimated payments and benefits that would be provided to each of the named executive officers who were serving Cree as executive officers at the end of fiscal 2019 in the event of a termination of employment or change in control, or both.
Payments and benefits are estimated using the following assumptions: (1) the triggering event took place on June 28, 2019, the last business day of fiscal 2019, or the Trigger Date; (2) the price per share of our common stock on the Trigger Date was $56.18, which represents the closing price of our common stock as reported by Nasdaq on the last trading day preceding such date; and (3) all amounts are based on compensation and benefit agreements, plans and arrangements in effect on the Trigger Date notwithstanding subsequent changes in such agreements, plans and arrangements for fiscal 2020. There can be no assurance that a triggering event would produce the same or similar results as those estimated below if such event occurs on any other date or if the actual results differ from the assumptions described herein.

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Potential Payments and Benefits to Named Executive Officers upon
Termination of Employment or Change in Control
Name
 
Triggering Event
 
Type of Payment/Benefit
 
Amount
Gregg A. Lowe
 
Death or termination of employment due to
 
Annual incentive award (1)
 
$
1,241,051

 
 
long-term disability
 
Vesting acceleration (2)
 
38,185,349

 
 
 
 
 
 
$
39,426,400

 
 
Change in control (not involving
 
Annual incentive award (4)
 
$
1,241,051

 
 
termination of employment) (3)
 
 
 
$
1,241,051

 
 
Termination without cause or resignation
 
Base salary (18 months)
 
$
1,275,000

 
 
for good reason not in connection with a
 
Incentive awards
 
1,785,000

 
 
change in control (5)
 
COBRA premiums (18 months)
 
31,353

 
 
 
 
Continued vesting (18 months)
 
25,116,758

 
 
 
 
 
 
$
28,208,111

 
 
Termination without cause or resignation
 
Base salary (24 months)
 
$
1,700,000

 
 
for good reason in connection with a
 
Incentive awards
 
2,380,000

 
 
change in control (5)
 
COBRA premiums (24 months)
 
41,804

 
 
 
 
Vesting acceleration
 
38,145,349

 
 
 
 
Outplacement services (12 months)
 
6,500

 
 
 
 
 
 
$
42,313,653

Neill P. Reynolds
 
Death or termination of employment due to
 
Annual incentive award (1)
 
$
379,616

 
 
long-term disability
 
Vesting acceleration (2)
 
4,144,174

 
 
 
 
 
 
$
4,523,790

 
 
Change in control (not involving
 
Annual incentive award (4)
 
$
379,616

 
 
termination of employment) (3)
 
 
 
$
379,616

 
 
Termination without cause or resignation
 
Base salary (12 months)
 
$
455,000

 
 
for good reason not in connection with a
 
Incentive awards
 
364,000

 
 
change in control (5)
 
COBRA premiums (12 months)
 
13,210

 
 
 
 
Outplacement services (12 months)
 
6,500

 
 
 
 
Continued vesting (12 months)
 
770,888

 
 
 
 
 
 
$
1,609,598

 
 
Termination without cause or resignation
 
Base salary (18 months)
 
$
682,500

 
 
for good reason in connection with a
 
Incentive awards
 
546,000

 
 
change in control (5)
 
COBRA premiums (18 months)
 
19,815

 
 
 
 
Vesting acceleration
 
4,144,174

 
 
 
 
Outplacement services (12 months)
 
6,500

 
 
 
 
 
 
$
5,398,989

Michael E. McDevitt
 
Compensation pursuant to the McDevitt
 
Base salary (12 months)
 
$
455,000

 
 
Separation Agreement (6)
 
Annual incentive award
 
364,000

 
 
 
 
COBRA Premiums (12 months)
 
18,487

 
 
 
 
Outplacement services (12 months)
 
6,500

 
 
 
 
Continued vesting (12 months)
 
3,297,696

 
 
 
 
 
 
$
4,141,683

David T. Emerson
 
Death or termination of employment due to
 
Annual incentive award (1)
 

 
 
long-term disability
 
Vesting acceleration (2)
 
$
5,218,041

 
 
 
 
 
 
$
5,218,041

 
 
Change in control (not involving
 
Annual incentive award (4)
 

 
 
termination of employment) (3)
 
 
 

 
 
Termination without cause or resignation
 
Base salary (12 months)
 
$
412,000

 
 
for good reason not in connection with a
 
Incentive awards (6)
 
329,600

 
 
change in control (7)
 
COBRA premiums (12 months)
 
13,048

 
 
 
 
Outplacement services (12 months)
 
6,500

 
 
 
 
Continued vesting (12 months)
 
2,588,999

 
 
 
 
 
 
$
3,350,147


51

Table of Contents

Name
 
Triggering Event
 
Type of Payment/Benefit
 
Amount
 
 
Termination without cause or resignation
 
Base salary (18 months)
 
$
618,000

 
 
for good reason in connection with a
 
Annual incentive award
 
494,400

 
 
change in control (7)
 
COBRA premiums (18 months)
 
19,572

 
 
 
 
Vesting acceleration
 
5,218,041

 
 
 
 
Outplacement services (12 months)
 
6,500

 
 
 
 
 
 
$
6,356,513

________________
(1)
Based on actual results for performance period using 104% performance measurement for the Cree-wide financial goals. Assumes no prior leave of absence in the case of death. In the case of termination due to long-term disability, assuming 180 days prior leave of absence, payment would have been $1,190,000 for Mr. Lowe and $364,000 for Mr. Reynolds. Actual amount will vary based on performance measurement and the duration of any leave of absence prior to death or termination due to long-term disability. Mr. Emerson was not eligible to receive an annual cash incentive compensation payment for fiscal 2019 because he was