The man who brought semiconductor manufacturing know-how and discipline to First Solar and led the company’s push to gigawatt-scale production will be moving on. Bruce Sohn, the thin-film PV firm’s president of operations, will be leaving the organization effective April 30. He will not be replaced, with the current group of senior executives continuing in their roles and reporting to CEO Rob Gillette.
Sohn has played an integral role at First Solar since early in the 2000s, working as an engineering, operations, and managerial consultant and serving on the company’s board from 2003-2009. After a long career at Intel, he joined the executive team in 2007 as president, and since then has been responsible for technology, operations, and supply chain for module production, as well as for the engineering, procurement, and construction and operations and maintenance groups.
“Bruce has been an important part of First Solar's history and growth, and his dedication to our vision has been unwavering. His leadership in establishing and building our manufacturing capabilities on a global scale has been a key driver of our success,” said Gillette. “Bruce and I have taken stock of his considerable achievements, and we have agreed this is a natural time for him to pursue new opportunities outside the company. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
“I am proud of what we have accomplished at First Solar so far and remain confident in the company's future,” said Sohn. “Not only have we achieved our cost and manufacturing milestones, but we also have positioned a new generation of leaders to take First Solar into the next phase of growth.”
As for the top-level reporting reorganization, the following executives will be running their respective units and report to Gillette: Tymen DeJong, SVP of operations; Doug Duval, VP of supply chain; Heinrich Eichermueller, SVP of plant replication; and Jim Lamon, SVP of EPC.
(To read the first part of an exclusive three-part interview with Sohn first published in May 2009, click here. The second and third parts of the feature can be linked to here and here. To read a MICRO magazine interview with Sohn from 2002, when he was running Intel's first 300mm production fab, click here.)