Corporate Governance

First Solar’s leadership in renewable energy is a result of our deep expertise and nearly 15-year track record of manufacturing, developing, financing, engineering, constructing, and operating the world’s leading sources of sustainable, solar energy. We rely on the vast experience and talent of our associates, who draw from considerable experience in both the conventional and solar energy fields to deliver reliable, dependable, and cost-effective PV energy solutions to our customers.

Governance Structures of First Solar

  • Mark Widmar

    Chief Executive Officer

    Mr. Widmar became CEO of First Solar in July 2016. He joined First Solar in April 2011 as chief financial officer and served as First Solar’s chief accounting officer from February 2012 through June 2015. Mr. Widmar has also served as a director on the board of the general partner of 8point3 Energy Partners LP (“8point3 Energy Partners”), then a publicly-traded yieldco and affiliate of First Solar. Prior to joining First Solar, Mr. Widmar served as chief financial officer of GrafTech International Ltd., a leading global manufacturer of advanced carbon and graphite materials, from May 2006 through March 2011, as well as president, Engineered Solutions from January 2011 through March 2011. Prior to joining GrafTech, Mr. Widmar served as corporate controller of NCR Inc. from 2005 to 2006, and was a business unit chief financial officer for NCR from November 2002 to his appointment as controller. He also served as a division controller at Dell, Inc. from August 2000 to November 2002 prior to joining NCR. Mr. Widmar also held various financial and managerial positions with Lucent Technologies Inc., Allied Signal, Inc., and Bristol Myers/Squibb, Inc. He began his career in 1987 as an accountant with Ernst & Young. Mr. Widmar holds a Bachelor of Science in business accounting and a Masters of Business Administration from Indiana University.

  • Alex Bradley

    Chief Financial Officer

    Alexander R. Bradley was appointed chief financial officer in July 2016. Mr. Bradley previously served as vice president, treasury and project finance for First Solar. Mr. Bradley also served as a director on the board for the general partner of 8point3 Energy Partners. Mr. Bradley has led or supported the structuring, sale, and financing of over $10 billion and approximately 2.7 GW of the company’s worldwide development assets, including several of the largest photovoltaic power plant projects in North America. Mr. Bradley’s professional experience includes more than 10 years in investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, project finance, and business development in the United States and internationally. Prior to joining the First Solar in May 2008, Mr. Bradley worked at HSBC in investment banking and leveraged finance, in London and New York, covering the energy and utilities sector. He received his Master of Arts from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

  • Georges Antoun

    Chief Commercial Officer

    Georges Antoun was appointed chief commercial officer in July 2016. He joined First Solar in July 2012 as chief operating officer before being appointed to president, US. Mr. Antoun has over 20 years of operational and technical experience, including leadership positions at several global technology companies. Prior to joining First Solar, Mr. Antoun served as venture partner at Technology Crossover Ventures (“TCV”), a private equity and venture firm that he joined in July 2011. Before joining TCV, Mr. Antoun was the head of Product Area IP & Broadband Networks for Ericsson, based in San Jose, California. Mr. Antoun joined Ericsson in 2007, when Ericsson acquired Redback Networks, a telecommunications equipment company, where Mr. Antoun served as the senior vice president of worldwide sales and operations. After the acquisition, Mr. Antoun was promoted to chief executive officer of the Redback Networks subsidiary. Prior to Redback Networks, Mr. Antoun spent five years at Cisco Systems, where he served as vice president of worldwide systems engineering and field marketing, vice president of worldwide optical operations, and vice president of carrier sales. He has also held senior management positions at Newbridge Networks, a data and voice networking company, and Nynex (now Verizon Communications), where he was part of its Science and Technology division. Mr. Antoun is a member of the board of directors of Ruckus Wireless, Inc. and Violin Memory, Inc., both publicly-traded companies. Mr. Antoun earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a master’s degree in information systems engineering from NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering.

  • Philip Tymen deJong

    Chief Operations Officer

    Philip Tymen deJong was appointed chief operating officer in July 2015. Mr. deJong has comprehensive leadership responsibility for areas including manufacturing, EPC, quality and reliability, supply chain, and product management. Mr. deJong joined First Solar in January 2010 as vice president, plant management and served in several senior vice president roles in manufacturing and operations prior to being appointed senior vice president, manufacturing and EPC in January 2015. Prior to joining First Solar, Mr. deJong was vice president of assembly/test manufacturing for Numonyx Corporation. Prior to that, he worked for 25 years at Intel Corporation, holding various positions in engineering, manufacturing, wafer fabrication management, and assembly/test manufacturing. Mr. deJong holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering/mechanical engineering from Oregon State University and has completed advanced study at the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management.

  • Michael Koralewski

    Chief Manufacturing Operations Officer

    Michael Koralewski was appointed chief manufacturing operations officer in July 2020. Mr. Koralewski provides nearly fifteen years of global operational experience to the executive leadership team. Mr. Koralewski joined First Solar in 2006, serving in several senior roles in operations and quality management, including senior vice president, global manufacturing since 2015; vice president, global site operations and plant manager since 2011; and vice president, global quality since 2009. In all of these roles Mr. Koralewski has been significantly involved since the beginning of First Solar’s manufacturing scaling and expansion from site selection through sustaining operations. Prior to joining First Solar, Mr. Koralewski worked at Dana Incorporated where he held several positions with global responsibility in operations and quality management. He earned a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Case Western Reserve University and a Master of Business Administration from Bowling Green State University.

  • Kuntal Kumar Verma

    Chief Manufacturing Engineering Officer

    Kuntal Kumar Verma was appointed chief manufacturing engineering officer in July 2020. Mr. Verma joined First Solar in 2002, serving in progressively more senior roles in engineering and manufacturing, including vice president, global manufacturing engineering since 2012. He is responsible for the global manufacturing performance and improvement roadmap, including global technology transfer, new plant start-ups and strategic initiatives. Prior to joining First Solar, Mr. Verma held several engineering and operations positions at Reliance Industries Limited, India. He is a Master Black Belt in Six Sigma/Lean Manufacturing with an expert certification in Taguchi Methods (Robust Engineering) and a certification in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) from American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS). He earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology in India, a Master of Science in industrial engineering from the University of Toledo, and a Master of Business Administration from Bowling Green State University.

  • Pat Buehler

    Chief Quality and Reliability Officer

    Patrick Buehler was appointed chief quality and reliability officer in July 2020. Mr. Buehler joined First Solar in 2006, serving in progressively more senior technical and operations roles in quality and reliability, including vice president, quality and reliability since 2019. Prior to joining First Solar, Mr. Buehler held several roles in manufacturing, engineering, maintenance, and product development at DuPont de Nemours, Inc. and Cummins, Inc. He earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Science in mechanical engineering from Purdue University.

  • Raffi Garabedian

    Co-Chief Technology Officer

    Raffi Garabedian was named co-chief technology officer in July 2020 and is focused on advanced research and development, and strategic product initiatives. He was previously the chief technology officer since May 2012. Mr. Garabedian joined First Solar in June 2008 as director of disruptive technologies. Prior to First Solar, Mr. Garabedian spent over 15 years in the MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) industry, developing new products ranging from automotive engine control sensors to fiberoptic telecommunications switching systems. He was the founding CEO of Touchdown Technologies, Inc., which was acquired by Verigy, as well as Micromachines Inc., which was acquired by Kavlico. Mr. Garabedian is named on approximately 28 issued U.S. patents. Mr. Garabedian earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering with a focus on semiconductor and microsystems technology from the University of California Davis.

  • Markus Gloeckler

    Co-Chief Technology Officer

    Markus Gloeckler was named co-chief technology officer in July 2020 and is focused on driving First Solar’s Series 6 thin film photovoltaic (PV) module platform. Mr. Gloeckler has extensive experience guiding strategic research and development activities and has served First Solar as vice president and chief scientist, before being promoted to senior vice president, module research and development. He was instrumental in enabling First Solar’s achievement of a series of world-record conversion efficiency for cadmium-telluride solar cells. In his role as vice president of research, he led the thin film technology transfer from General Electric to First Solar following the intellectual property acquisition in 2013. He joined First Solar in 2005 in an engineering function supporting First Solar’s technology development after the initial launch of the Series 2 product. Mr. Gloeckler holds an undergraduate degree in microsystems engineering from the Regensburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany, and a PhD in physics from Colorado State University.

  • Jason Dymbort

    General Counsel and Secretary

    Jason E. Dymbort joined First Solar, Inc. in March 2008, serving in a broad range of legal roles before being appointed general counsel and secretary in July 2020. During his time at First Solar, Mr. Dymbort has helped grow the Company’s internal legal capabilities in support of project finance, business development, corporate development, litigation, corporate governance and securities law matters. He has provided legal counsel on numerous high-profile transactions, including some of the largest utility-scale solar projects in the world. 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. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was a member of the Penn Law Review, and a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University.

  • Caroline Stockdale

    Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Communications

    Caroline Stockdale joined First Solar in October 2019 as executive vice president, human resources and communications. Prior to joining First Solar, Ms. Stockdale served as chief executive officer for First Perform, a company that provides human resources services and products for small and medium-sized organizations. She has also served as chief human resources officer at Medtronic, and Warner Music Group, and has held a variety of human resources leadership positions at American Express and General Electric. Ms. Stockdale has won awards for her innovative approach to solving business issues, and is a recognized thought leader in re-inventing talent and performance management. She is a member of the Forbes Human Resources Council. Caroline holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Theories and Institutions, Philosophy, from the University of Sheffield in England.

  • Michael J. Ahearn

    Chairman of the Board - Director since 2000 | Chairman of the Board

    Michael J. Ahearn, Technology Committee, previously served as First Solar’s chief executive officer from August 2000 to September 2009; interim chief executive officer from October 2011 to May 2012; executive chairman from October 2009 to December 2010 and May 2012 to July 2012; and non-executive chairman from January 2011 to October 2011 and July 2012 to present. Mr. Ahearn is currently chairman and managing partner of True North Venture Partners, L.P., a venture capital firm he launched in 2011 to invest primarily in early stage companies in the energy, water, agriculture and waste sectors. Prior to First Solar, he was partner and president of an equity investment firm, JWMA (formerly True North Partners, L.L.C.). Prior to joining JWMA, Mr. Ahearn practiced law as a partner in the firm of Gallagher & Kennedy. Mr. Ahearn currently serves as a member of the board of directors of Cox Enterprises, Inc.; a member of the board of directors of Endeavor Global, Inc.; and a member of the global advisory board of Beijing Climate Policy Initiative. Mr. Ahearn holds a Bachelor of Arts in finance and a Juris Doctor from Arizona State University.

  • Sharon L. Allen

    Independent Director - Director since 2013

    Sharon L. Allen, Chair, Audit Committee; Technology Committee, served as U.S. chairwoman of Deloitte LLP from 2003 to 2011, retiring from that position in May 2011. Ms. Allen was also a member of the global board of directors, chair of the Global Risk Committee and U.S. representative of the Global Governance Committee of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited from 2003 to May 2011. Ms. Allen worked at Deloitte for nearly 40 years in various leadership roles, including partner and regional managing partner, and was previously responsible for audit and consulting services for a number of Fortune 500 and large private companies. Ms. Allen is currently an independent director of Bank of America Corporation, serving as chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Corporate Governance Committee. A certified public accountant (inactive), Ms. Allen holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and received an honorary doctorate in administrative sciences from the University of Idaho.

  • Richard D. Chapman

    Independent Director - Director since 2012

    Richard D. Chapman, Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, serves as the chief financial officer of Walton Enterprises, Inc., where he has worked since 1983. In this capacity, Mr. Chapman oversees all aspects of the Walton Family Office in Arkansas. Mr. Chapman currently serves on the boards of directors of the Arvest Bank Group, the holding company for a diversified financial services company; the University of Arkansas Foundation Board, where he serves on the Executive and Finance Committees; the Razorback Foundation, where he is a member of the Investment Committee; and the Fayetteville Campus Foundation of the University of Arkansas. Mr. Chapman also serves on the boards of directors of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, where he sits on the Executive and Investment Committees; and the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. Mr. Chapman was previously a member of the Board of Managers of First Solar Holdings, LLC prior to the Company going public and JWMA (formerly True North Partners, L.L.C.), an equity investment firm. Prior to joining Walton Enterprises, Mr. Chapman worked from 1976-1983 in London, England and Little Rock, Arkansas, for the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. A Certified Public Accountant (inactive), Mr. Chapman holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in accounting from the University of Arkansas.

  • George A. Hambro

    Independent Director - Director since 2012

    George A. (“Chip”) Hambro, chair, Technology Committee, previously held various positions at First Solar from June 2001 through June 2009, including serving as chief operating officer from February 2005 through May 2007. Prior to joining First Solar, he held the positions of vice president of engineering and business development for Goodrich Aerospace from May 1999 to June 2001 and vice president of operations for ITT Industries from February 1997 to May 1999. For the last five years, Mr. Hambro has been a director of both the Toledo Zoo, and Imagination Station, Toledo’s children’s science museum. Mr. Hambro currently serves on the board of directors of View, Inc., a developer of next-generation green building solutions designed to improve energy efficiency, and Aquahydrex, which is developing and commercializing low cost hydrogen production technologies. Mr. Hambro graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in physical science (applied physics).

  • Molly Joseph

    Independent Director - Director since 2017

    Molly Joseph, Audit Committee, Nominating & Governance Committee, is Chief Executive Officer of UnitedHealthcare Global and Executive Vice President, Global, UnitedHealth Group. She assumed these roles in May of 2014 and March of 2017, respectively, and leads overall strategic direction and operational management of business outside the United States. She serves on UnitedHealthcare’s Executive Council and UnitedHealth Group’s Executive Leadership Team. From 2009 to 2014, Ms. Joseph was Senior Vice President, Global for UnitedHealth Group, leading the Global Markets division, as well as the strategic development of the global business, which grew from a start-up to a $7 billion revenue business over that period of time. Prior to her global role with UnitedHealth Group, she led acquisitions and other strategic transactions across the enterprise. Prior to joining UnitedHealth Group, Ms. Joseph was an investment banker focused on mergers and acquisitions. She began her career as a corporate lawyer, also focused on business transactions. Ms. Joseph currently sits on the Advisory Board of Children’s HeartLink, a global nonprofit healthcare organization, as well as the Board of Directors of Austin Young People’s Chorus. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Santa Clara University, and received a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown Law Center.

  • Craig Kennedy

    Independent Director - Director since 2007

    Craig Kennedy, Audit Committee, was president of the German Marshall Fund, an independent American organization created in 1972 as a permanent memorial to the Marshall Plan, from 1995 to 2014. The German Marshall Fund sponsors a wide range of programs related to foreign, economic, immigration and environmental policy, and it operates a number of political exchanges between the United States and Europe with a special emphasis on Germany. Mr. Kennedy began his career in 1980 as a program officer at the Joyce Foundation in Chicago. Mr. Kennedy was president of the Joyce Foundation between 1986 and 1992, where he built the Foundation’s environmental program and launched a new program on U.S. immigration policy. Mr. Kennedy left the Joyce Foundation to work for Richard J. Dennis, a Chicago investor and philanthropist. During this same period, Mr. Kennedy created a consulting firm working with nonprofit and public sector clients. Mr. Kennedy was Audit Committee chair of the Invesco Van Kampen Closed-End-Funds from 1999 to 2014. He also serves on the advisory board of True North Venture Partners, L.P. Mr. Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Arts and an MBA from the University of Chicago. 

  • William J. Post

    Independent Director - Director since 2010

    William J. Post, Compensation Committee, Nominating & Governance Committee, Technology Committee, retired as chairman and chief executive officer of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (“Pinnacle West”) in April 2009, and he retired from the board of directors of Pinnacle West in May 2010. He joined Arizona Public Service (the largest subsidiary of Pinnacle West and the largest electric utility in Arizona) in 1973 and held various officer positions at Arizona Public Service beginning in 1982 including: vice president and controller, vice president of finance and regulation, chief operating officer, president and chief executive officer. He became president of Pinnacle West in 1997, chief executive officer in 1999 and chairman of the board in 2001. Mr. Post joined the board of Arizona Public Service in 1995 and the board of Pinnacle West in 1997. Mr. Post is chairman of the Translational Genomics Research Institute and chairman of the Arizona State University Foundation, where he received a Bachelor of Science in 1973. He also serves as a director of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. He has served in the past as chairman of Swift Transportation Company, Suncor Development Company, Stagg Information Systems, Nuclear Assurance Corporation, Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited, the Institute of Nuclear Power, and El Dorado Investment Company. He also served as a director of Phelps Dodge Corporation from 2001 to 2007 and U.S. Airways from 2011 to 2013. 

  • Paul H. Stebbins

    Independent Director - Director since 2006

    Paul H. Stebbins, chair, Nominating & Governance Committee; Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, has served as chairman emeritus and as a non-employee director of World Fuel Services Corporation (“World Fuel”) since January 2015. Previously, Mr. Stebbins served as the chairman and chief executive officer of World Fuel from July 2002 to January 2012 and as executive chairman from January 2012 to May 2014. He has served as a director of World Fuel since June 1995. Between July 2000 and 2002, Mr. Stebbins also served as president and chief operating officer of World Fuel. In 1985, Mr. Stebbins co-founded Trans-Tec Services, a global marine fuel service company acquired by World Fuel in 1995. Mr. Stebbins served for many years as a member of the Business Round Table, an influential association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies, and currently serves as a member of the Energy Security Leadership Council of S.A.F.E. (Securing America’s Future Energy) and as a member of the Leadership Council of the Fix the Debt Campaign founded by Erskine Bowles and Sen. Alan Simpson.

  • Michael T. Sweeney

    Independent Director - Director since 2003

    Michael T. Sweeney, chair, Compensation Committee; Nominating & Governance Committee. He was CEO of Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc and its principal subsidiary, Steinway & Sons from October, 2011 through August, 2016, and as chairman of the board from July 2011 through September 2013. Mr. Sweeney served as chairman of the board of Star Tribune Media Holdings, the holding company for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, from September 2009 to September 2014, and has served as a director of Carlson Companies, Inc. Mr. Sweeney served as managing partner in Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison, Inc., a private equity firm, from 2001 through 2008. He had previously served as president of Starbucks Coffee Company (UK) Ltd. in London and held various operating management and corporate finance roles.

  • Mark Widmar

    Director - Director since 2016

    Mr. Widmar became CEO of First Solar in July 2016. He joined First Solar in April 2011 as chief financial officer and served as First Solar’s chief accounting officer from February 2012 through June 2015. Mr. Widmar also serves as a director on the board of the general partner of 8point3 Energy Partners LP (“8point3 Energy Partners”), the joint yieldco formed by First Solar and SunPower Corporation in 2015 to own and operate a portfolio of selected solar generation assets. Prior to joining First Solar, Mr. Widmar served as CFO of GrafTech International Ltd., a leading global manufacturer of advanced carbon and graphite materials, from May 2006 through March 2011, as well as president, engineered solutions from January 2011 through March 2011. Prior to joining GrafTech, Mr. Widmar served as corporate controller of NCR Inc. from 2005 to 2006, and was a business unit CFO for NCR from November 2002 to his appointment as controller. He also served as a division controller at Dell, Inc. from August 2000 to November 2002 prior to joining NCR. Mr. Widmar also held various financial and managerial positions with Lucent Technologies Inc., Allied Signal, Inc., and Bristol Myers/Squibb, Inc. He began his career in 1987 as an accountant with Ernst & Young. Mr. Widmar holds a Bachelor of Science in business accounting and a Masters of Business Administration from Indiana University.

Director Audit Compensation Nominating & Governance Technology
Michael J. Ahearn       ×
Sharon Allen Chair     ×
Richard Chapman × ×    
George Hambro       Chair
Molly Joseph ×   ×
 
Craig Kennedy ×      
William J. Post   × ×
×
Paul H. Stebbins × × Chair  
Michael Sweeney   Chair ×  

Committee Charters