PVTIME – First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced that Philip Tymen deJong, Chief Operating Officer (COO), has decided to retire from the Company, effective April 2021. In addition, First Solar announced a series of senior leadership changes.
Mr. deJong’s successful career spans over four decades, with ten years of service to First Solar, five of which includes his tenure as COO. Among his many achievements, Mr. deJong played a fundamental role in establishing the Company’s international Series 6 module manufacturing footprint with five announced factories currently in production, and a sixth on track to commence production during the first quarter of 2021.
Mr. deJong will continue to serve as COO for an eight-month transition period, during which he will oversee certain priority projects, while transitioning the majority of his responsibilities to Michael Koralewski, Chief Manufacturing Operations Officer; Kuntal Kumar Verma, Chief Manufacturing Engineering Officer; and Patrick Buehler, Chief Quality and Reliability Officer, each of whom will join First Solar’s executive leadership team.
“I am deeply appreciative of Tymen’s tremendous leadership and his many significant contributions to First Solar,” said Mark Widmar, Chief Executive Officer of First Solar. “After a decade of stewardship of our manufacturing, supply chain, and enterprise-wide operations, Tymen’s retirement is well earned. I am grateful that he will continue to serve the Company on several key initiatives until his retirement is effective in April of next year.”
Mr. Koralewski provides nearly fifteen years of global operational experience to the executive leadership team. As Chief Manufacturing Operations Officer, he is responsible for First Solar’s site operations and supply chain management. Mr. Koralewski joined First Solar in 2006 and has held progressively more senior roles in operations and quality management with global responsibility, including Vice President – Global Quality, Vice President – Site Operations (Global) and Plant Manager, and Senior Vice President – Global Manufacturing.
Since joining First Solar more than fifteen years ago, Mr. Verma has been instrumental in scaling up First Solar’s manufacturing capabilities, including the first and second generation cadmium telluride (CdTe) manufacturing lines. As Chief Manufacturing Engineering Officer, he is responsible for global manufacturing replication and performance. Prior to his current role, Mr. Verma held a variety of engineering roles, including as Vice President – Global Manufacturing Engineering, Director – Manufacturing Engineering, and Engineering Manager – Deposition.
Mr. Buehler brings over a decade of experience in quality and reliability to the executive leadership team. As Chief Quality and Reliability Officer, he is responsible for global manufacturing quality, product reliability, performance and prediction analytics, customer service, sustainability, and environmental, health and safety. Mr. Buehler joined First Solar in 2006 and has held progressively more senior technical and operations roles in quality and reliability, including serving as Vice President – Quality & Reliability since March 2019.
“With Series 6 deployed, and a strong team in place to carry it forward, I am confident that the timing is right for me to retire with the business in good hands,” said Mr. deJong. “I am working closely with Mike, Kuntal, and Pat to effect a seamless transition and look forward to watching the team continue First Solar’s operational excellence leadership.”
First Solar also announced today that Markus Gloeckler has been appointed Co-Chief Technology Officer alongside Raffi Garabedian, First Solar’s Chief Technology Officer since 2012, as part of First Solar’s new co-CTO structure. Mr. Gloeckler will join First Solar’s executive leadership team.
“Moving to a co-CTO structure will enhance our platform for growth and aligns with our vision to excel in technology,” said Mr. Widmar. “As co-CTOs, Markus will continue to drive our Series 6 platform, enabling Raffi to focus on advanced research and development and further pursue the capabilities of our industry-leading cadmium telluride thin-film module technology.”
Mr. Gloeckler has extensive experience guiding strategic research and development activities. Prior to being named Co-Chief Technology Officer, Mr. Gloeckler served as Vice President – Chief Scientist, before being promoted to Senior Vice President – Module Research & Development. He was instrumental in enabling First Solar’s achievement of a world-record conversion efficiency for a CdTe solar cell.
In addition, First Solar announced today that Jason Dymbort will join the executive leadership team as General Counsel and Secretary after serving in this capacity on an interim basis since March 2020. During his time at First Solar, which began in 2008, Mr. Dymbort has held numerous legal roles for the Company, helping to grow the Company’s internal legal capabilities in support of a broad range of subject matter areas. Between 2015 and 2018, Mr. Dymbort served as general counsel and secretary for the general partner of 8point3 Energy Partners, then a publicly-traded yieldco and affiliate of First Solar. Before joining First Solar, Mr. Dymbort was a corporate attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.
“These senior leadership changes speak to the strength of the talent within First Solar,” said Caroline Stockdale, First Solar’s Chief People and Communications Officer. “We believe these additions to the executive leadership team, all of whom share our vision of leading the world’s sustainable energy future, will better align our manufacturing, technical, and commercial capabilities, and set the Company up for continued growth.”