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Defense startup Epirus CEO leaving to take new job at a public company

Defense startup Epirus, Inc. is getting new leadership.

Staff were told at an all-hands meeting this morning that CEO Ken Bedingfield was leaving, TechCrunch learned. The news was later confirmed by a company spokesperson, who told TechCrunch that Bedingfield accepted a role at an unnamed public company. He will be replaced by COO Andy Lowery, effective immediately.

Bedingfield held the title of CEO at Epirus for less than a year. Prior to that position, he served as COO and CFO since June 2020. He came to Epirus from aerospace and defense giant Northrop Grumman, where he served as CFO.

Torrance, California-based Epirus develops “directed-energy” weapons that can be used to counter drones and other aerial vehicles. The product line, called Leonidas, uses high-power microwave technology mounted on a gimble to neutralize systems from up-close or afar. At the beginning of this year, the company landed a $66 million contract from the U.S. Army to deliver several Leonidas prototypes this year.

Epirus’ tech has garnered considerable interest from investors too: last year, the startup closed a $200 million Series C at a post-deal valuation of $1.35 billion, from investors including T. Rowe Price Associates, 8VC and Bedrock.

“Over the past year, Ken led the company through a number of important milestones and achievements, most notably the successful delivery of the first IFPC-HPM system to the U.S Army, cementing a clear pathway towards delivering an operational high-power microwave capability to the Department of Defense,” an Epirus spokesperson said in a statement.

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