February 19, 2024   

Dialight Enacts Series of Sudden Executive Changes

2024 02 Dialight cfo ceo changes steve blair Fariyal Khanbabi.jpg

Company executes a string of immediate C-Level changes since September


Dialight PLC, a global provider of LED illumination products for industrial heavy-duty applications, has recently undergone a series of abrupt executive shifts, marking a significant period of transition for the company. This sequence of changes began in September 2023 and has continued into the early months of 2024, culminating in the immediate instatement of Steve Blair as Chief Executive Officer on February 15, 2024.

Timeline of Leadership Transitions

  • September 2023: Immediate departure of Clive Jennings, CFO, marking the onset of executive C-level changes.

  • January 30, 2024: Announcement of Carolyn Zhang as the incoming CFO, with her tenure beginning on February 1, 2024.

  • February 14, 2024: Fariyal Khanbabi steps down immediately as CEO;

  • February 15, 2024: Board member, Steve Blair, is appointed as the new CEO.


In September, Dialight reported a challenging first half 2023 with revenues dropping to £73.2 million ($92.24m USD) from £80.8 million ($101.81m USD) and a shift from profit to a loss, indicating a significant underperformance compared to the previous year. The downturn is attributed to a 12% decrease in orders. The company's gross margin also declined due to high component costs and lower overhead absorption. A transformation plan was put in place aimed to streamline operations, enhance cost-efficiency, and accelerate growth, targeting over £180 million ($226.8m USD) in sales with higher margins and operating profits in the medium term.


Executive Profiles and Contributions

Fariyal Khanbabi's Departure

On February 15, 2024, Dialight disclosed the immediate departure of Fariyal Khanbabi from her dual roles as CEO and director. According to the company announcement, the decision was reached mutually with the Board. The company recognized her decade-long service and contributions, extending well wishes for her future endeavors.

Carolyn Zhang's Appointment

Following Clive Jennings departure months ago, Carolyn Zhang recently stepped into the CFO role on February 1, 2024, bringing a wealth of experience from various senior financial positions within the global manufacturing sector. Her previous engagements include CFO and EVP at Metal Powder Group, divisional CFO at Tekni-Plex Inc., and a key finance role at FMC. She is based in New Jersey.

Steve Blair's Leadership

Steve Blair, who joined the Board as a non-executive director on June 7, 2023, brings a rich background in electronic engineering and international business, especially in North American markets. His prior leadership roles include President of North American operations at Invensys Process Systems, COO at Spectris plc, and CEO at e2v Plc and The Ordnance Survey.


This series of immediate and sudden executive moves at Dialight, though somewhat unusual for the two top executives in a company, highlight a phase of strategic realignment and leadership renewal for Dialight.