Vestas’ North American president leaving

The president of Vestas Americas is leaving the company in a few weeks as the company seeks to reorganize its operations worldwide.

Martha Wyrsch has held the top post for three years and has decided to leave Vestas in early December, according to a company statement.

Chris Brown has been named Group Senior Vice President of Vestas and President of Vestas Americas. Brown, 52, is an energy industry veteran with decades of experience running electric utility and independent power operations. He had most recently served as Chief Operating Officer for the City of Detroit.

In 2008 Brown was the CEO of Deepwater Wind, a Rhode Island company that is developing an offshore wind project off Block Island and is proposing to develop larger projects off Rhode Island and other northeastern states. He was also an executive vice president at DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) in Detroit.

Vestas expanded aggressively into the United States in recent years, building four manufactur9ing plants in Colorado and opening three research and development facilities. However, due to the pending lapse of the federal production tax credit, turbine orders have fallen short and the company has laid off nearly 500 workers. It has also announced the closure of its R&D centers in the U.S.

It has also undergone massive restructuring in its worldwide operations and eliminated thousands of jobs.

Vestas said Brown’s first task will be getting up to speed on the company, its operations and its current implementation of cost savings and organizational adjustments.  

“I recognize there are many challenges in the U.S. wind industry,” Brown said. “However, Vestas has tremendous potential and strength. This is evident in the management team, in the brand, and most important, in the many talented people who work at Vestas. I look forward to meeting the people behind the company’s success in the next few weeks and months.”

Wyrsch began at Vestas in 2009. From 2010 to 2012, she directed record financial, sales and installation performance for the company in the U.S. and Canada, which increased its installed base of wind turbines in the region by more than 4.7 GW.

“We are grateful to Martha for her leadership these past several years,” said Juan Araluce, Chief Sales Officer for Vestas. “Martha has led an ambitious effort at a time in which wind power growth is especially important. Under her leadership, we have safely and successfully managed a record installed base in two major countries committed to the benefits of clean, renewable and affordable wind power.”