Roscheisen out, former Rambus boss Geoff Tate in, as Nanosolar makes leadership change

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CIGS thin-film PV producer Nanosolar has replaced long-time CEO and company cofounder Martin Roscheisen (shown below left) with semiconductor industry veteran Geoff Tate (shown upper left). The company offered no mention of the ousted chief exec in its official press release, let alone an explanation of the reasons behind the leadership change or any details of his plans, although a spokeswoman did confirm to PV-Tech that Roscheisen will remain as a director on the Nanosolar board.

PV-Tech has attempted to contact Roscheisen, but he has so far been unavailable for comment. The former CEO has been a highly visible and sometimes controversial figure in the solar PV industry, both praised and criticized for this outspokeness.

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Tate comes to Nanosolar with years of experience in the higher executive echelons of the technology industry, having served as CEO of Rambus from 1990-2005, and as senior VP and corporate officer of chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from University of Alberta and an MBA from Harvard University.

“Geoff is a dedicated, hard-working executive with a successful track record developing great technologies into winning businesses,” said Erik Straser, Nanosolar board member and general partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures. “For example, under Geoff’s leadership, Rambus developed and commercialized a 500MHz interface, which at the time was 5-10 times faster than competitive alternatives. We are confident that Geoff will be a terrific addition to Nanosolar as we bring our thin-film CIGS (copper indium gallium [di]selenium) solar panels to market.”

Brian Sager, founder, board member, and VP of corporate development at the San Jose-based company, added, “We have market-leading customers, strategic investors, a strong balance sheet, and groundbreaking technology that has the potential to enable the lowest cost solar panels in the industry. Our highest priority under Geoff’s leadership will be to meet our customer commitments and help make our customers successful.”

The company stated to PV-Tech that it “will be working closely with its customers”–which include EDF Energies Nouvelles, enXco, Juwi, AES, and others– “to deploy solar power plant projects this summer and fall, and to further develop its panels’ field operating history for bankability.”

Beneficiaries of hundreds of millions of dollars in venture-capital investment, as well as various government grants and tax credits, Nanosolar announced last September that it had made major advancements in its CIGS technology and roll-to-roll manufacturing, including the establishment of a 640MW nameplate capacity module assembly line near Berlin.

A September 2009 PV-Tech interview with Roscheisen can be found here.

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