Trina Solar restructures as Europe and Africa president Ben Hill resigns

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Trina Solar has restructured its management, with the China-headquartered PV module manufacturer’s president for Europe and Africa Ben Hill leaving the company amid speculation over his next role.

Trina said that it has conducted the management restructure to “prepare for growth” in regions including Africa and Europe, which Hill was leading. Trina announced today that Hill has resigned from the company.

Ben Hill has sometimes been credited by industry insiders as one of the driving forces behind Trina’s success in Europe in recent years. Meanwhile the vertically integrated manufacturer and developer has also become increasingly active in Africa, opening a warehouse in Pretoria last year, three years after the opening of its first office in the country three years prior to that.

Globally, the company has also become one of a handful of module makers dubbed the “super league” by PV Tech’s senior news editor Mark Osborne and Solar Intelligence analyst Finlay Colville in recent blogs for the site.

Restructure moves and Hill's next rumoured destination

As Hill leaves, Trina has made two internal appointments, which it claims will address growth in a number of regions.

The company’s former vice president of global commercial operations, Rongfang Jin, will now lead the regional module business unit (MBU) for Europe and Africa, reporting to the MBU’s overall president ZhiGuo Zhu. Jin’s former roles include time spent at OEM firm Flextronics.

Meanwhile, Rafael Esteban, Trina’s head of project finance and project development for Europe and North Africa, becomes head of the systems business unit (SBU) for the EMEA and Latin America regions. Like Hill, Esteban served for some years at BP Solar before joining Trina.

Additionally, Trina has appointed Gonzalo de la Viña, formerly with REC Solar Germany, as regional sales director for Northern Europe. De la Viña was managing director for Germany, Austria, Switzerland (DACH) and Eastern Europe at REC Solar Germany.

Trina Solar’s CEO and chairman, Jifan Gao, thanked Hill for his efforts and welcomed the new appointments.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to Mr. Ben Hill for his contributions during his tenure. I am pleased to announce the new appointments of Mr. Yin and Mr. Esteban. I am confident that the extensive experience of both Mr. Yin and Mr. Esteban in the PV sector and their proven track records will help bolster our presence and allow us to capture more growth opportunities in their respective areas.”

Meanwhile, industry speculation strongly suggested that Hill would take up a position focused on energy storage with an EV manufacturer. However the manufacturer has thus far declined to respond to two requests from PV Tech to confirm or deny the rumours.

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