Bloomberg News

First Solar’s Ahearn Gets Fraction of Ousted CEO; No Severance

January 03, 2012

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- First Solar Inc. interim Chief Executive Officer Michael Ahearn, who stepped in after former CEO Rob Gillette was ousted, agreed to a $500,000 annual salary with no stock awards or options and no severance payment.

Ahearn, 54, will get a base salary that’s 41 percent less than Gillette and may be eligible for an annual bonus to be determined by the board, the Tempe, Arizona-based company said in a filing yesterday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Ahearn, who helped found the company in 1999, also serves as chairman.

The world’s biggest maker of thin-film solar panels lured Gillette from Honeywell Corp.’s aerospace division more than two years ago with a $5 million signing bonus, stock awards and a total compensation package worth as much as $29.9 million for his first 15 months on the job. First Solar dropped 61 percent during his tenure from October 2009 to Oct. 24, the day before his departure.

First Solar named Ahearn interim CEO on Oct. 25 and the next day slashed the company’s sales and profit forecasts for 2011. He helped found the company with funding from the Walton family, heirs of the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. fortune.

--Editors: Jasmina Kelemen, Tina Davis

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Martin in New York at cmartin11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net


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