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First Solar names Christopher Burghardt Head of Sales Operations - Europe | Europe

First Solar names Christopher Burghardt Head of Sales Operations - Europe

First Solar, Inc. announced that Christopher Burghardt will lead Sales Operations for First Solar 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 First Solar effective May 1 2012.

Both moves are part of a realignment of First Solar's European sales team amid a broader consolidation of the Company's worldwide sales and business development activities. As announced this week, First Solar has combined its Utility Systems Business Group and Components Business Group under a unified global structure led by Jim Brown, who has been appointed to the new role of President, Global Business Development.

"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."

"I am proud to have helped First Solar become the industry leader that it is today and I am confident that Christopher will build on this success," said Hansen. "With a highly talented and motivated team and superior technology First Solar is best positioned to lead Europe into a subsidy-free PV market."

Burghardt joined First Solar in Sept. 2009 as Vice President of Government Affairs for EMEA. Prior to joining the company he was most recently 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. He is a dual German-Belgian national and earned 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.

Stephan Hansen joined First Solar as Managing Director for the EMEA region in 2004. At the same time he was Vice President for Sales, Market Strategy and Customer Service. Before joining First Solar he spent 5 years in the U.S., first as general manager of a research & development venture, then starting his career in the photovoltaic industry as Chief Operating Officer of Schott Applied Power, a distribution and engineering, procurement and construction provider and Vice President of Sales and Marketing for RWE Schott Solar. He earned his master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Stuttgart.
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Posted by Gisela Bühl | 2011-12-27