First Solar Hires Rob Gillette, a GE Veteran, as Its New CEO
To gain some management credentials, one could go the MBA route (Harvard, University of Chicago, INSEAD). A diploma from any of these schools can boost your climb up the corporate ladder, or at least it used to. And then there’s General Electric. The Fairfield, Conn., company’s legendary has over the years evolved to become a real nursery for aspiring CEOs.
First Solar, the world’s largest PV maker, which since April was looking for a replacement for long-time CEO Michael Ahearn has gone the GE route in naming Rob Gillette, a GE alum, as its next CEO. Gillette was most recently the head of Honeywell International aerospace business, which he joined in 1996. Before that, he was at GE where he spent over 10 years “in numerous senior management positions,”.
Gillette is First Solar’s second CEO. Ahearn has led the company, founded in 1999, since August of 2000, overseeing important milestones, including the launch of commercial production in 2002 and its initial public offering in 2006.
Ahearn will stay on as executive chairman. He also plans to devote some of his time on clean energy related advocacy issues. Gillette will assume his duties as CEO and join the Board of Directors effective October 1.
Separately, First Solar has not announced a replacement for its former head of global marketing, John Carrington following his sudden departure last month.