First Solar hires new CEO

TEMPE, Ariz. (TOLEDO NEWS NOW) - First Solar, Inc. has announced that James Hughes has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. Hughes succeeds Mike Ahearn, First Solar's founder and Chairman, who has been serving as interim CEO since Oct. 2011.

Hughes joined First Solar in March as Chief Commercial Officer. Ahearn will continue in his role as Chairman of the Board.

"Jim has been instrumental in developing the strategic plan that will enable us to compete and win in this new era for the solar industry, and it became clear he is the right person to lead the execution of that plan," said Ahearn. "Jim brings a wide range of experience that will be invaluable in leading our organization, having owned and operated utilities, built power projects, cultivated partnerships and led profitable growth in a wide array of key markets around the world."

Hughes has nearly 20 years of experience in the global energy industry. Before joining First Solar, he served as the CEO of AEI, which owned and operated power distribution, conventional and renewable power generation, natural gas transportation and natural gas distribution businesses in 19 countries.

First Solar also said Thursday that it lost $449 million in the first quarter, mostly due to a restructuring announced last month that will eliminate 30 percent of the company's workforce and close a newly expanded plant in Germany.

The company is based in Tempe, Arizona with a plant in Perrysburg.

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