19 December 2011

Burghardt to lead First Solar’s European sales operations

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, the world’s largest manufacturer of thin-film solar photovoltaic modules, says that Christopher Burghardt has been appointed head of the firm’s sales operations in Europe in addition to his current responsibilities leading Government Affairs in the region. In his new role, Burghardt will report to Jim Brown, president of Global Business Development, and will continue to report to Maja Wessels, executive vice president of Public Affairs, with respect to his Government Affairs responsibilities. Stephan Hansen, who has led First Solar's European sales organization for the past seven years, will leave the firm effective 1 May 2012.

"Christopher has a deep understanding of European markets that will be invaluable as we position our sales effort to develop sustainable, utility-scale energy opportunities," said Brown. "Stephan's contribution to First Solar cannot be understated. He helped found our European business and led it, with deep customer relationships, to more than $1 billion in annual sales and 4 gigawatts of cumulative sales. Stephan will work with us to ensure a smooth transition."

Burghardt’s appointment is part of a realignment of First Solar's European sales team amid a broader consolidation of the firm’s worldwide sales and business development activities. Last week, First Solar announced that it has combined its Utility Systems Business Group and Components Business Group under Jim Brown, who has been appointed to the new role of president, Global Business Development.

Burghardt joined First Solar in September 2009 as vice president of Government Affairs for EMEA. Prior to joining First Solar, he was vice president for Corporate Affairs of Anheuser-Busch InBev for Western Europe and a vice president for Business Development and Marketing EMEA at Hill & Knowlton in the EMEA region. Burghardt has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, a master's degree from the College of Europe and a bachelor's from the University of Sussex and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques of Aix-en-Provence.

See related items:

First Solar restructures; appoints Jim Brown president of Global Business Development

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

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