December 1912 – January 2013
To list Eric Lidow’s accomplishments in power electronics is to highlight many of the industry’s milestones dating back to the introduction of power semiconductors. Mr. Lidow played a leading role in the development and commercialization of several cornerstone technologies relating to photovoltaic cells, selenium photocells and rectifiers, silicon controlled rectifiers (CSRs), power germanium rectifiers and power MOSFETs. Power MOSFETs in particular revolutionized power electronics and today more than six decades later, International Rectifier maintains its Number 1 position in this market segment.
Mr. Lidow was born a century ago in the Lithuanian city of Vilnius, which was then part of Russia. Mr. Lidow graduated in 1937 from the Technical University of Berlin with a degree in Electrical Engineering. After immigrating to the United States that same year with just $14 in his pocket, Mr. Lidow’s first break came when he joined Automatic Winding (which later became part of General Instruments) where he quickly progressed to a management position. However, believing his engineering talents were going untapped, he invested $34 of his savings to advertise his expertise in photovoltaics, resulting in his first promising employment at Universal Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles for the development of photoelectrical equipment. The opportunity fell through, however, as the hiring manager passed away just before Mr. Lidow joined the company. Fortunately, the trip to California was not in vain because a Universal employee loaned Mr. Lidow $2,000 to establish a business to develop photoelectric cells. With this funding, in 1940, Mr. Lidow co-founded the Selenium Corporation of America. The company was acquired by Sperry Corporation in 1944 and Mr. Lidow continued in his role as Vice President of Engineering until 1947 when he sold his stock in the company. That same year, Mr. Lidow co-founded International Rectifier (IR) with his father Leon, who had only recently made his way to America. After a brief start in Inglewood, California, IR soon moved to El Segundo where it has been headquartered ever since with a steadfast mission to help save the world’s energy through efficient power management.
Mr. Lidow served as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer until 1995 when he became Chairman. Mr. Lidow retired from his role as Chairman of IR in 2008 but as the company’s founder and a visionary in the field of power electronics, his technical legacy continues as IR remains at the forefront of power management advancements, pushing the frontiers of energy efficiency by introducing game-changing platforms and products. From the HEXFET® power MOSFET to the iMOTION™ integrated design platform for variable speed motor drives, and revolutionary GaNpowIR® GaN-based power device platform to CHiL® digital control ICs and companion PowIRstage™ and DirectFET® devices, for more than sixty five years IR has maintained its leadership in power management innovation.
Mr Lidow was a Life Associate of Caltech, a Life Member of IEEE and a Life Trustee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He held an Honorary Doctorate from Technion and received numerous lifetime achievement awards from the electronics engineering media.
Eric Lidow Press Release