Friday, April 23, 2010

Peter Denyer Passed Away

Peter Denyer, the founder of VVL in Edinburgh, and now part of ST Microelectronics, passed away yesterday.

From University of Edinburgh page: By the early 1980s the research team, lead by Prof. John Mavor and then Prof. Peter Denyer gained an international reputation for first CCD and then MOS analogue and digital IC design with special application to signal processing. In 1986 Peter Denyer was appointed as the University’s then youngest Professor to a position sponsored by Advent, a leading Venture Capital house.

In 1989 Renshaw, Denyer, Wang and Lu published a paper reporting work started in 1986 on CMOS image sensing that culminated in the design and demonstration of the world's fist single chip CMOS video camera.

In 1990, with University and Venture Capital backing, Denyer and Renshaw set up VLSI Vision (VVL) a University Spin out company, to sell the single chip video camera device and develop a family of novel imaging devices based on this technology. This company grew from one employee to over 100 in the five years to 1995, when it became the first spin out company from a Scottish University to become a PLC, placed on the London Stock Exchange. Peter was the CEO of VISION Group plc, a company he founded, took to IPO and to profitability over a 9-year period from 1990 to 1999.

By 1995 competition started from other new companies based in the US and far east. To address the emerging market and cope with the competition, VVL sought to expand its operation and as a consequence was taken over in 1999 by ST Microelectronics, to form a new Imaging Division of that company, to address the newly emerging mass market in mobile phone cameras.

Since the sale of VISION Peter has become an active angel investor, founding five new businesses, and leading two further IPOs.

Namely, Peter co-founded and chaired Microemissive Displays (MED), the world’s leading developer of polymer organic light emitting diode (P-OLED)-based microdisplays which floated on AIM in November 2004 and he co-founded and Chaired Rhetorical Group plc, a leading speech synthesis company, which was sold to Scansoft Inc. in 2005. He served as a director of MED and also chaired another technology company Eleksen Ltd which develops technology and applications for sensing fabric. Peter also served as chairman of Quantum Filament Technology commercializing a novel field emission approach for the next generation of flat displays. Peter was a Director and Non-Executive Chairman of Dexela Limited designing large-area X-ray sensors for mammography.

For his work on the technology and its commercialization, Peter received the Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal, the IEEE Millennium Award, and the Queen’s Award for Technology (link).

This sad news was brought to me by A.T.

Update: Peter's funeral is on Thursday 29th April at 2pm at the Main Chapel at Mortonhall Crematorium in Edinburgh.


  1. Indeed, this is sad news for me.
    It seems like just yesterday we had a small blog exchange here on Dexela which Peter posted on.

    Peter was someone I admired and respected and liked as a friend.

  2. a great and rare person who has excelled both in science and in business !

    how old was he indeed ?

  3. I got the sad news from Jed. I knew Peter was very sick, but apparently everything went very quickly, unfortunately in the wrong direction.
    The imaging community looses a great personality.

  4. This is very sad news. It's been quite a long time since I last met Peter, but then he was so full of life. This comes as a complete shock to me.

  5. We are Peter's daughters and were just googling him when we found your page. He was 56 when he died on Thursday but would have been 57 this Tuesday 27th April. It is really nice to see all your comments.

  6. We are Peter's daughters and were googling him when we came across your page. He was 56 when he died on Thursday but would have been 57 tomorrow. His funeral is on Thursday 29th April at 2pm at the Main Chapel at Mortonhall Crematorium in Edinburgh. All are welcome. It is really nice to read your comments, thank you. Kate&Kirsty

  7. One of the nicest & most interesting men I ever met & worked with. So truly sorry to hear of his death. He will be much missed. Wishing his family the very best.

  8. Accomplished engineer, successful businessman and thoroughly decent and kind person. He has set an example to us all. The UK start up community loses one of those people that makes a difference in the world. Our best wishes and thoughts to Kate, Kirsty and your family.

  9. Stuart MackenzieMay 7, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    Entrepreneurial, constructive, considerate and a pleasure to deal with. A tragedy that he hasn't lived to enjoy the many successes he contributed to. Best wishes to his family, friends and colleagues.

  10. I have just discovered this very sad news. I worked with Peter in the 80s and he supervised my MSC project. He was one of the brightest and most inspired people I have had the privilege to meet in my professional life.

  11. Thank you all so much for your comments. They are a great comfort to us. kate and kirsty and fiona


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