MORRISVILLE – James Fahey, a former IBM named CEO of nanotechnology firm HZO less than a year ago, has stepped down from that job due to illness.

Fahey was replaced by Richard Holder, a veteran executive who already was a member of the HZO board.

The changes were announced Tuesday.

Holder and Fahey remain on the firm’s board.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors and employees of HZO, I want to thank Rich for his willingness to step-in and to Jim for the extraordinary job he has done fortifying HZO. Jim worked as long as he could through his illness.  It is a lesson in fortitude and tremendous leadership,” said Kamal Bherwani, chairman, in a statement. “We are fortunate to have both Jim and Rich as part of the company and wish Jim a speedy recovery.”

Fahey took the CEO job in March 2020 and had been growing the firm’s footprint. HZO moved its headquarters to Morrisville and planned to add 500 jobs, according to an announcement made in November 2019.

Holder served most recently as CEO of NN Inc., a manufacturing firm. He also worked 12 years at Eaton Corp.

“HZO plays a pivotal role in protecting everything from health wearables to smartphones, and autonomous vehicle to edge devices,” said Holder. “With an extraordinary track record of growth and success, most recently named to Deloitte’s Fast 500, I am honored to be asked to lead such an exciting enterprise.”

Nanotech firm HZO, which plans 500 hires in Morrisville, names new CEO