THE boss of a wonder substance firm has announced his retirement.

Jon Mabbitt is stepping down as chief executive at Applied Graphene Materials.

He has played a key role in the growth of the Durham University spin-out, which is known for producing graphene that experts herald for being ultra-lightweight yet overtly tough, despite being as thin as a human hair.

He will remain in post until a successor is found before taking on a part-time advisory role.

“It has been a privilege to be part of the significant progress that the business has made over the past few years”, said Mr Mabbitt.

“I am confident that with its strategy on track, the company, with its unique technology, established relationships and market reach, will capitalise on the significant global opportunity for graphene.”

Bryan Dobson, chairman at the firm, which is based at the Wilton Centre, near Redcar, added: “We thank Jon for his substantial contribution and his continued support, and wish him all the very best for the future.

“The search for a new chief executive will commence immediately.”

The business previously revealed a stellar satellite deal with Airbus Defence and Space, which is expected to see its graphene used in mobile phone and broadcasting satellites.

It also has a supply agreement with Wearside fishing rod maker Century Composites to strengthen equipment and been involved in advanced testing alongside paint supplier James Briggs.