IPG Photonics founder Dr Valentin Gapontsev dies aged 82

IPG Photonics has announced the death of its founder, chairman and former CEO, Dr Valentin Gapontsev.

Gapontsev, 82, founded IRE-Polyus, IPG’s predecessor, in 1990.

He has been IPG’s chairman since the company’s founding and was its CEO until April 2021. 

His scientific innovations and business vision led to the creation of a vertically integrated business employing over 6,000 worldwide. 

Dr Gapontsev is the named inventor on over 100 patents and author on over 200 scientific papers. In 2006, he was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Industrial Products and Services in New England.

In 2009, he was awarded the Arthur L. Schawlow Award by the Laser Institute of America. In 2011, he received the Russian Federation National Award in Science and Technology, and he was selected as a Fellow of the Optical Society of America. In 2010, the SPIE listed Dr Gapontsev as one of 28 ‘Laser Luminaries’ who made substantial contributions to lasers during the 50 years since lasers were invented.

Dr Eugene Scherbakov, current CEO of IPG Photonics, commented: 'Valentin’s passing is a tremendous loss for the IPG community and the larger photonics world. Valentin’s technical innovations, strategic vision for the capabilities of fibre lasers and entrepreneurial drive transformed the laser industry and industrial automation to the point where lasers are finally cost-effective, reliable and effective tools that have mass applications in global industrial production. Recognised as the Father of the Fibre Laser Industry, his leadership and unique strategies enabled IPG to be at the forefront of rapid technological developments, and will continue to inspire us to strive for greatness in all that we do. Our love and thoughts are with his wife and family during this profoundly sad time.'

John Peeler, lead independent director of IPG’s board of directors, added: ‘Valentin was universally admired for his vision and success in scientific innovations married to entrepreneurial drive over the last thirty years. He was a passionate leader for IPG, leaving indelible marks on everything and everyone he touched. As a mentor and friend to many, he also was generous, changing the lives of many for the better.’ 

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Industry, Fibre lasers