Solar Leadership Shakeup: Q-Cells & SkyFuel Lose CEOs

The last few weeks have seen two big leadership changes in the solar industry. This week, the Q-Cells SE Supervisory Board has accepted the resignation of CEO Anton Milner. Milner resigned from the company’s Management Board with immediate effect but will serve as an adviser to the company. Nedim Cen, currently CFO and member of the Management Board, has been named CEO and will hold both positions.

Cen is set to embark on the swift implementation of the transformation of the business and will continue to advance the existing restructuring program known as Q-Cells Reloaded.

The reasons for Milners departure were not made public, but it’s been reported by Reuters and Bloomberg that Milner’s decision is based on the €1.4 billion loss reported by Q-Cells in 2009.

“The very dramatic negative 2009 figures have consequences and have in particular led to a loss of confidence in the financial markets,” Milner said in a statement.

Cen had taken on the CFO position at Q-Cells SE in June 2009 on an interim basis and will now remain in office until the foundation for the transformation of the business is established.

On the other side of the Atlantic, CSP firm SkyFuel Inc. announced that Dr. Arnold Leitner, the founder and CEO since the company’s inception is leaving the company to pursue other interests. The company has named Rick Smith, former president of Bechtel Corporation’s Fossil Power division as both the company’s interim CEO and as a member of its Board of Directors. Smith will serve as the Interim CEO until a permanent CEO is found.

“Now that we have completed the commercial demonstration of the SkyTrough parabolic trough concentrator and the SkyTrough is established in the market, I have decided that this is the right time for the company to transition to a new CEO with broader commercial experience,” Dr. Leitner said, “Rick served as a consultant to SkyFuel in the past. I am confident that his knowledge of the company and his deep power industry background will be tremendous assets to SkyFuel.”

Dr. Leitner’s 2002 U.S. Department of Energy study on CSP titled “Fuel from the Sky” is credited with helping to renew interest in CSP in the United States.

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