DURHAM – Just as Cree’s shares hit a 52-week high of nearly $50 a share Thursday, the Durham firm’s long-time chief financial officer disclosed plans to retire.

The news immediately sent Cree (Nasdaq: CREE) shares down more than 3 percent in after-hours trading.

It’s the latest of many changes coming at the firm under CEO Gregg Lowe, who took over the firm late last year.

Mike McDevitt, who has served as CFO since 2012 and has worked with Cree since 2002, will stay in the CFO post until a replacement is named, Cree announced late Thursday.

“I am confident that it is the appropriate time to begin this CFO transition as the team continues executing the new strategic direction going forward,” McDevitt said in a statement.

“It has been a privilege working with Cree’s many talented employees and our Board for the last 16 years, first driving the adoption of LEDs, then LED Lighting and more recently our Power and RF products. The company is on healthy financial footing to enable its future growth. I appreciate the opportunity that [current CEO] Gregg Lowe and Chuck [Swoboda, retired chair and CEO] gave me to serve as their CFO. I look forward to working with Gregg and the team to find our next CFO and to ensure a smooth transition.”

Cree noted that McDevitt will continue to serve as a consultant after he leaves the CFO post.

McDevitt has served in a variety of positions at Cree over a 16-year period that the company noted has seen its revenues grow from under $200 million to some $1.5 billion.

“Mike has made significant contributions to the continued success of the company during his role as CFO, and we appreciate his dedication to helping us solidify and introduce the new business strategy,” said Lowe, who has set about revamping the firm since replacing Swoboda.

“Now that we have made our pivot, we are gaining traction in the market with the new strategy and believe that we have collectively positioned the Company to support our growth plans and achieve a successful future.”