First Solar plunges on sudden CEO departure

The company didn't give a reason for why Rob Gillette left his post.

By Kim Peterson Oct 25, 2011 3:22PM
When a chief executive resigns suddenly and without giving a reason, it's a safe bet that investors will panic.

That's what's happening to First Solar (FSLR) Tuesday after chief executive Rob Gillette left the company effective immediately. Shares of the solar company fell more than 25% to close at $43.27.

The company didn't give a reason for Gillette's departure. Its chairman and founder, Mike Ahearn, will take over the chief executive duties until a search committee can find a permanent replacement.

Gillette isn't the only executive to depart. The man who led the company's utility systems business group said in August that he would resign after five years at the company, Dow Jones reports.

The solar industry is in sad shape, hit by weak demand, low prices and too many solar panels being made in China, Dow Jones reports.

And analysts think layoffs are coming. Citi analysts think as much as 10% of the workforce could leave "owing to the reality that (First Solar) may have to run factories at less than full utilization" during the next several quarters.

And, the analysts note, only one of the top six corporate officers listed in the 2008 annual report remains at the company.

Sounds like a mess.

Tags: FSLR
Oct 25, 2011 3:33PM
unlike years ago,when our industries were strong and it took a while before predatory trade practices took down our industries it is far more imedeiate today,wake up america we have very few real friends
Oct 25, 2011 4:11PM

time is long overdue for significant import tarrifs on imports from source nations that do not have same environmental,  labor and social standards as us.  free trade with EU? absolutely,  free trade with the mega-polluting, union-brusting, totaliatrian regimes elsewhere?  hell no.

Oct 25, 2011 4:18PM
They need to keep the solar panels made in China out of this country. They are cheap and won't last just like everything else that comes from China.
Oct 25, 2011 4:49PM
The problem is we as Americans Need to quit buying Chinese junk.. Buy American and save our country.
Oct 25, 2011 4:35PM
protectionism... never has worked... we need to get smart and compete and quit belly aching.  We can beat and compete...  
Oct 25, 2011 5:51PM

Buying stuff from China is a 2 headed coin,  Lets face the cacts---


Yes, we should buy US made products,


The shoes made in China that you buy in Walmart cost $19,95


If the same shoes were made here is the US, you would be paying $129,95 for them, (if they were made in a Union shop).


What is the answer,  I think it is tooooooo late to fix.  We opened up our borders the past 20 years and now we are "out voted".   Just think, people that never worked or wanted to support themselves, (and are being supported by people that do work), still have the right to vote and therefore vote themselves a "raise".   Would it be fair that if a person is not supporting themselves, they loose the right to vote (vote themselves a raise)????


Regardless, everyone should have food and shelter,  and we should "take care of our own" first,  but there has to be some rules to go by.   But, we keep sending billions and trillions to foreigners that hate us, and educating them in university's that we built for our own children. Sad, very sad.. 


A last word about China,  they never are on our side in world affairs, they always vote against us.  WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I think it is a little late the fix things.

Oct 25, 2011 7:35PM

I believe that if AMERICANS showed a little bit more love for this country and stopped buying

crap from China, our industries would have an incentive to produce more here.  It goes without saying that a great number of our young people have lost their lives to protect corruption

in the Middle East.  We should invest in every form of energy creation in this country.  We

have two oceans, deserts, mountains, plains, etc.  These are the environments that facilitate

the production of energy by different natural resources, wind, coal, hydro, oil, you name it.

This is a huge country, blessed by nature.  We should not resign ourselves to be hostages

of dictators because we need oil.  This govt does not have money to give tax incentives to

companies that do this type of research, but sends billions of dollars to stuff the pockets

of the dictator of the day.  WAKE UP americans!


Oct 25, 2011 5:26PM
Solar power does not work well enough to be really useful. It is still in the R&D phase. Until it actually works, no amount of subsidy or wishful thinking will make it worth buying. China's panels don't work any better.
Oct 25, 2011 5:24PM
If we all did our part in using this technology as fully as we could and should, this would not be an issue, no matter where it is made.  The shorter distance it is shipped is part of the deal with proper energy savings.  This company had high hopes and God willing, there will be some increase in demand allowing continued growth as well as saving/adding new jobs.  It is only our own fault we are putting continued and stupid demand on oil to fuel us, until it is gone.  Then we will be crying, where are the energy panels?  Wake up America.  Want to cry about China?  Do something about it.  Do your part
Oct 25, 2011 5:04PM
Sadly, a very good example of NAFTA at work.......not to mention all of our jobs.
Oct 25, 2011 4:11PM
check out a new little company called "Goalzero"  brite spot in solar and growing like crazy...
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