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first solar - new ceo

First Solar Appoints Hughes CEO

First Solar, Inc. 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.”

“I am excited for this opportunity to lead First Solar into a new era for the industry,” said Hughes. “First Solar is unrivaled in terms of talent and experience and has the premier platform from which to implement solar power at a meaningful scale around the world. The rapid cost reductions in the industry position solar at the threshold of the mainstream energy markets, and we are well-positioned to capitalize on that opportunity.”

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. Prior to that, he was President and Chief Operating Officer for Prisma Energy.

Hughes earned a juris doctor from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, a Certificate of Completion in international business law from Queen Mary’s College, University of London, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southern Methodist University.

For more information on First Solar, visit First Solar’s website at firstsolar.com.

First Solar 2 vacancies for board members

First Solar Expands Board Of Directors

First Solar, Inc. announced that it nominated two new candidates for election to the Company’s Board of Directors and that it has expanded the size of the Board to eleven from nine, creating two vacancies as it continues to seek additional independent directors. As detailed in its Proxy Statement, which was filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission, First Solar nominated George “Chip” Hambro and Richard “Rick” Chapman to stand for election to the Board at the Company’s Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which will be held on May 23, 2012. Chapman will serve as an independent director.

To fill the two new vacancies, First Solar has retained an executive search firm to help identify candidates with experience that will support the company’s strategy to compete as a vertically integrated provider of photovoltaic power plants in energy markets that are sustainable without subsidies.

The company also announced that José Villarreal, a director since 2007, will retire from the Board due to personal commitments and will not seek reelection at the Annual Meeting.

“We are pleased to be adding two distinguished candidates to the First Solar Board of Directors. Chip and Rick are both knowledgeable about First Solar’s strategy and operations and have diverse experience and expertise that will make them valuable additions to our board. We are also committed to further expanding our board by adding two additional independent directors to support our long-term strategic plan,” said Mike Ahearn, First Solar’s Chairman and Interim CEO. “On behalf of the First Solar Board of Directors, I extend my gratitude to José, who has been an engaged and dedicated Director for the past five years.”

Chapman, 58, is CFO of Walton Enterprises, Inc., where he has worked since 1983. In his current capacity, Chapman oversees all aspects of the Walton Family Office in Arkansas. Chapman currently serves as a director on the boards of the Arvest Bank Group; the University of Arkansas Foundation, where he serves on the Executive and Finance Committees; and the Razorback Foundation, where he is a member of the Investment Committee. Chapman was previously a member of the Board of Managers of First Solar Holdings, LLC prior to the Company’s initial public offering and JWMA (formerly True North Partners, L.L.C.), an equity investment firm. Chapman earned a B.S.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Arkansas and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Hambro, 48, previously held various positions at First Solar from June 2001 through June 2009, including serving as Chief Operating Officer from February 2005 through May 2007. Prior to joining First Solar, he held the positions of Vice President of Engineering & Business Development for Goodrich Aerospace from May 1999 to June 2001 and Vice President of Operations for ITT Industries from February 1997 to May 1999. For the last five years, Hambro has been a director of both the Toledo Zoo and Imagination Station, Toledo’s children’s science museum. Hambro currently serves on the board of directors of Soladigm, Inc., a developer of next-generation green building solutions. Hambro graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a B.A. in Physical Science (Applied Physics).

For more information on First Solar, visit First Solars’ website at firstsolar.com.