First Solar’s Robert Gillette Is Out; Company Names Mike Ahearn Interim CEO

The board of directors of First Solar Inc., a Tempe, Ariz.-based manufacturer of thin-film PV modules, has named chairman and company founder Mike Ahearn its interim CEO.

Effective immediately, Robert Gillette is no longer serving as CEO, First Solar says. The board adds that it has formed a search committee and is initiating a search for a permanent CEO.

First Solar did not provide any additional details on Gillette's departure. Following the announcement, the company's shares immediately plummeted 24% – to their lowest level since 2007, according to Reuters.

A drastic lowering of the company's fourth-quarter guidance likely caused the executive shake-up, according to Jefferies & Co.

‘The magnitude of the weak 4Q guide – almost half its prior guidance – is likely the reason for the CEO dismissal, which is a positive versus worst fears of an accounting restatement, [Department of Energy] loan scandal, or fraud,’ Jefferies analysts wrote in a research note.

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