First Solar’s New CEO Gets Hefty $5M Pay Package

Robert Gillette, the freshly-named CEO of thin-film solar panel maker First Solar, will get a $5 million signing bonus and an annual salary of $850,000, reports (via SeekingAlpha), citing regulatory fillings.

Gillette replaces long-time CEO Michael Ahearn, who stays on as executive chairman. Gillette will start at the Tempe, Ariz. company on October 1. He was hired from Honeywell International, where he headed the industrial conglomerate’s aerospace business.

As part of the compensation package, Gillette will also get $3.25 million of fully vested shares of the company, $3.25 million of fully vested stock options, and $6.5 million in restricted stock.

Gillette is taking over at a time when First Solar is morphing from a parts supplier and entering the power plant building business. Key to this strategy was its acquisition earlier this year of utility-scale solar plant developer OptiSolar for $400 million. This week, the company announced a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with the Chinese government to develop a 2 GW PV plant in China’s Inner Mongolia region, the massive project is expected to cost up to $6 billion.

Leave a Reply