First Solar names Widmar as new CEO

April 27, 2016 04:06 PM Eastern Daylight Time

TEMPE, Ariz.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) (the “company”) today announced that current Chief Financial Officer Mark R. Widmar has been appointed Chief Executive Officer, effective July 1, 2016. He will also join the First Solar Board of Directors at that time. As part of a transition plan, Mr. Widmar will succeed James A. Hughes, who plans to step down as Chief Executive Officer effective June 30, 2016. Mr. Hughes will continue to support the company in an advisory role and remain on the Board.

Mr. Widmar has served as First Solar’s Chief Financial Officer since 2011 and served as First Solar’s Chief Accounting Officer from February 2012 through June 2015, overseeing the company’s industry best balance sheet and strong financial performance.

“Leadership succession planning has been a joint effort between Jim and the board,” said Michael J. Ahearn, First Solar’s Chairman of the Board. “As we enter a new phase of growth and development for the company, we believe that Mark’s proven leadership and expertise make this an ideal time for him to take the helm. Under Jim’s astute guidance, First Solar achieved the strongest technology position in our history, with record bookings of new business and unparalleled financial strength in the industry. We are grateful for Jim’s many contributions to First Solar, and we look forward to benefiting from his continued involvement as an advisor and director.”

Mr. Widmar said, “I look forward to the opportunity to lead First Solar at this exciting time and build upon the success of the past. I also look forward to continuing to work with our Board, management team and associates to leverage our enhanced technology and operational strength, establish deeper customer intimacy, and to capitalize on industry growth. By utilizing our business model that emphasizes a disciplined and balanced approach to growth, liquidity and profitability, we are confident in our ability to deliver superior results to our shareholders.”

Mr. Hughes said, “It has been a great honor to lead First Solar to its position at the forefront of the rapidly growing solar energy industry. I am proud of the significant milestones we accomplished as a team, particularly the achievement of the challenging strategic objectives we laid out in 2013. With its financial, technological and operational strength, First Solar is well-positioned for its next phase of growth. I am confident that now is the right time to hand over the reins to Mark. I am optimistic about First Solar’s continued progress and prosperity as the partner of choice for affordable solar power.”

The company also announced that Alexander Bradley, First Solar’s Vice President, Treasury and Project Finance, has been appointed interim Chief Financial Officer, effective July 1, 2016.

About Mark R. Widmar

Mark R. Widmar joined First Solar in April 2011 as Chief Financial Officer and served as First Solar’s Chief Accounting Officer from February 2012 through June 2015. Mr. Widmar also serves as CFO and as a director on the board of 8point3 Energy Partners LP, the joint yieldco formed by First Solar and SunPower Corporation in 2015 to own and operate a portfolio of selected solar generation assets. Prior to joining First Solar, Mr. Widmar served as Chief Financial Officer of GrafTech International Ltd., a leading global manufacturer of advanced carbon and graphite materials, from May 2006 through March 2011, as well as President, Engineered Solutions from January 2011 through March 2011. Prior to joining GrafTech, Mr. Widmar served as Corporate Controller of NCR Inc. from 2005 to 2006, and was a Business Unit Chief Financial Officer for NCR from November 2002 to his appointment as Controller. He also served as a Division Controller at Dell, Inc. from August 2000 to November 2002 prior to joining NCR. Mr. Widmar also held various financial and managerial positions with Lucent Technologies Inc., Allied Signal, Inc., and Bristol Myers/Squibb, Inc. He began his career in 1987 as an accountant with Ernst & Young. Mr. Widmar holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Accounting and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University.

About First Solar, Inc.

First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced module and system technology. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit www.firstsolar.com.