Jens Meyerhoff to leave First Solar; former CFO was key player in company’s rapid growth

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One of the prime movers in First Solar’s rapid transformation into a leading vertically integrated PV company is moving on. Jens Meyerhoff, current president of the utility systems business group and former CFO, will be leaving the firm effective Sept. 30.

His replacement as head of the USBG unit will be James Brown, current senior VP of utility systems business sales, who will report to CEO Rob Gillette. In addition to Brown’s promotion, Frank DeRosa, senior VP of project development for the Americas, will take on additional duties as senior VP of business development for the Americas, reporting to Brown.   

Meyerhoff joined First Solar in May 2006 as CFO and led the company through the transition from private to publicly traded company through its initial public stock offering in November 2006. He also led the creation of First Solar’s utility systems business and was appointed president of USBG in July 2010.

Brown joined First Solar in 2008 as VP of project finance and has been involved in project finance and business development during his tenure. He is responsible for leading the wholesale systems sales business in the Americas and Asia-Pacific and has been instrumental in financing and selling the company’s more than 1.8GW self-developed portfolio of projects. Before joining First Solar, Brown worked for 20 years in banking covering project and structured finance for the energy and industrial sectors.

DeRosa will add business development and sales to his project development responsibilities in USBG for the Americas. DeRosa joined First Solar in 2010 as senior VP of project development after the company bought NextLight Renewable Power, where he was founder and CEO. Prior to that, DeRosa worked for 23 years at Pacific Gas & Electric in both the regulated and unregulated business units.

“Jens has been an instrumental part of our growth, both as CFO and leading the utility systems business,” said Gillette. “He has always been equally passionate about both our business success and our long-term vision to build sustainable solar markets. We thank Jens for his dedication and wish him the best.”

“Jim is an experienced leader with a proven track record who has been deeply involved in the creation and execution of our USBG strategy, so we are confident the transition will be seamless,” the CEO added.

“Over the past five and a half years I had the privilege to be part of building the leading franchise in the PV solar industry. I am very proud of what we have achieved, not only financially, but also in building the foundation for a sustainable global market for solar power,” said Meyerhoff.

“With the full integration of our past acquisitions, the formation of a world-class utility systems team with a strong leader like Jim stepping up, as well as the completion of major project milestones such as the sale of Agua Caliente and the construction start of Desert Sunlight, First Solar is well-positioned for the future. The company has now reached a size and scale that allows me to step back and self-reflect before deciding my next step in life,” he concluded.

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