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.

  • Samy

    I am considering stritang a solar/wind energy business. I would like to know how many people would really consider installing solar panels and/or a wind generator on their home or business. If a complete system is too costly, would you consider a battery back-up system to run essential items in you home or business for when the power drops out? This would consist of 4-12 batteries, a couple of solar panels and/or a wind generator. This would operate items such as lights, well pump, refrigerator, radio or TV, telephones, and computers. Would you consider stritang a small solar array (4-6 panels) and adding panels to it when you have extra money to spend on them?Please give me your feedback on what you think of GREEN energy and if you think it is the future or just a fad.Good answers so far. In response to f100_supersabre, A 4 battery system is not much. It all depends on what you will operate and how long. The more batteries the better. About the telephone, yes they are powered by the telephone line but businesses usually have multiple lines with a switching station that needs electricity to operate. Most homes now only have cordless phones which require electricity. If you keep a corded phone in your home this would be a non factor. When it comes to the size panels and wind generator that is relevant to your power consumption. What might be good for your house may be too big or too small for your neighbor.Keep the answers coming.