CTO – Photonics

Commensurate with the role plus bonus worth 40% of salary, shares etc

Enigma People Solutions is recruiting a CTO for a world leading Photonics client. Reporting into the CEO of this global company you will be responsible for leading the global research and product development activities, focusing on photonic components and systems for communications and sensing applicable to Aerospace & Defense, Health & Life Sciences and Industrial sectors. As the head of the Global R&D Engineering department you will be responsible for new product development, technology road-mapping and IP generation through execution of a balanced R&D programme portfolio. You will support and collaborate with key stakeholders and work with world leading customers to design and produce new products to address applications for photonics in a wide range of markets.

Our client’s expertise in optical systems, subsystems and components extends from research through the development of prototypes to volume manufacturing and is a catalyst for innovation and effective manufacturing in the aerospace and defence, industrial, telecoms, life sciences and biophotonics sectors. From sites across the UK, USA and Asia, their capabilities span a uniquely broad range of photonic technologies including: crystal growth, optical materials processing, acousto-optics and electro-optics, active and passive fiber optic components, precision optics, opto-mechanical and medical systems.

Your main duties in this role will include

  • Lead the global R&D Engineering team
  • As a key member of the Executive team play a significant role in determining the strategic direction of the company.
  • Represent the R&D Engineering function to the Executive Board
  • Manage the  R&D project portfolio and deliver on NPD projects.
  • Maintain, extend and safeguard the company’s key enabling technologies
  • Oversee the development reviews, project gates & lessons learnt
  • Champion IP and patent activities and manage the patent application process
  • Represent the company to the scientific and industrial communities, including key stakeholders and customers
  • Generate and maintain the company’s technology roadmaps
  • Define global R&D processes and tools to enable standardization and efficiency across the teams
  • Manage talent and periodically review development & succession plans
  • Manage R&D Engineering interfaces with other functions of the business (Sales, Business Development, Product Management, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Quality)


  • South West England


  • Educated to MSc or PhD level in relevant discipline (Engineering, Physics) with specialisation in optics and photonics
  • Specialist technical knowledge on at least one enabling technology.
  • Proven track record (minimum 5 years) in a senior R&D management role and converting R&D results into profitable new products
  • Excellent leadership and motivational skills, strong track record of leading a multi-national, multi-cultural teams
  • Experience of operating at minimum Vice President (or equivalent) level experience with exposure to c-level / board
  • Excellent interpersonal  & presentation skills, proven track record of building strong relationships at all levels and ability to communicate appropriate expectations in relation to deliverables. High level of gravitas & personal credibility
  • Excellent organization skills, focused on execution as well as innovation, with strong attention to detail.
  • Team orientated, works cooperatively and collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organisational goals.
  • Positive, enthusiastic, looks for opportunities for win/win and shares responsibility for team success or failure.
  • Excellent team building skills and talent-spotting .