New executive leadership leverages exceptional expertise, with Hap Hewes bringing more than 20 years of experience in specialty materials and Sean Doherty bringing more than 25 years of finance and accounting experience.

OAKVILLE, ON, June 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Polar Sapphire, a manufacturer of high-purity aluminum oxide (“HPA”), announced that Hap Hewes has been appointed Chief Executive Officer and Sean Doherty has been appointed Chief Financial Officer. Ara Partners, a private equity firm focused on industrial decarbonization, is the majority owner of Polar Sapphire.

Mr. Hewes brings significant leadership and industry expertise to Polar Sapphire, with over 20 years of experience in the specialty materials industry, having held senior roles with companies including Saint-Gobain, Rubicon Technology, and Saphikon. Most recently, Mr. Hewes was President and CEO at Pallidus, a private equity-backed specialty materials company utilizing disruptive and proprietary technology to grow ultra-high quality silicon carbide crystals. He has significant HPA market experience, specifically in downstream uses of HPA to grow sapphire for use in LED, aerospace and defense, medical, and optical end markets. Mr. Hewes received a BS from Cornell University and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

“I am thrilled to join Polar Sapphire and lead the company as we commission additional HPA production capacity and capitalize on the significant growth opportunities in the growing HPA market,” said Hap Hewes, CEO of Polar Sapphire. “The company has a strong foundation and differentiated production process that will allow us to deliver high specification HPA consistently to our customers enabling them to achieve greater value. I look forward to working with the company’s founders, Scott Nichol and Dan Smith, the Board, and Ara Partners to realize Polar Sapphire’s long term strategic vision.”

Mr. Doherty brings over 25 years of financial leadership experience to Polar Sapphire having held various senior finance and accounting roles with multiple private equity-backed companies. Most recently, Mr. Doherty was Executive VP Finance and Administration at PASSUR Aerospace. Prior to that, Mr. Doherty spent 13 years at NAVBlue, where he started as Corporate Controller and was ultimately promoted to CFO. Mr. Doherty began his career at BDO and received a BA from Wilfrid Laurier University. He is designated as a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Accountant.

“I am very excited to join the Polar Sapphire leadership team and lead the finance organization as the company begins to scale up operations,” said Sean Doherty, CFO of Polar Sapphire. “The company has created a deep bench of technical and business talent, and I am looking forward to working with the rest of the management team to execute on our strategy.”

“Polar Sapphire is well-positioned to become the preferred supplier of HPA, which is a critical specialty material for use in LEDs and lithium-ion batteries and is key to decarbonization efforts across various end markets,” said Tuan Tran, a Partner at Ara Partners. “The additions of Hap and Sean provide multiple decades of relevant expertise and add to the diverse skill sets across the company.  We are proud to partner with this talented team as we work to build Polar Sapphire into a leading supplier of HPA in the growing LED and lithium-ion battery markets globally.”

About Polar Sapphire

Polar Sapphire has developed a breakthrough process for manufacturing the world’s highest-purity and lowest-cost High Purity Alumina (HPA). HPA is a critical input for green technologies such as LEDs, lithium-ion battery separators used in electric vehicles, semiconductors, plasma displays, and lasers. Polar Sapphire has a low-emission process compared with the incumbent process, which is highly toxic to local environments. The company currently operates a commercial facility in Oakville, Ontario. For more information on Polar Sapphire, visit

About Ara Partners

Ara Partners is a private equity firm specializing in industrial decarbonization investments. Ara Partners invests in the industrial & manufacturing, chemicals & materials, energy efficiency & green fuels and food & agriculture sectors, seeking to build businesses that provide significant decarbonization impact.  It operates from offices in Houston, Texas, Boston, Massachusetts, and Dublin, Ireland. Ara Partners closed its second fund with approximately $1.1 billion in capital commitments in September 2021. For more information on Ara Partners, please visit

Mark Semer / Alex Jeffrey
Gasthalter & Co. LP.
(212) 257-4170

SOURCE Ara Partners

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