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First Solar Names New Head of Europe Sales in Reorganization

First Solar Inc., the largest maker of thin-film solar panels, named a new head of European sales as the Tempe, Arizona-based company shifts its focus to utility-scale power plants rather than smaller projects.

Christopher Burghardt will replace Stephan Hansen effective immediately amid “a broader consolidation of the company’s worldwide sales and business development activities,” First Solar said today.

Burghardt “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 Jim Brown, the new president of global business development.

First Solar on Dec. 14 reduced profit estimates for this year and next and said it will cut about 100 jobs in its second restructuring in six weeks. Demand for panels slowed in Europe this year as Chinese producers increased output even after international prices slumped, helping prompt three U.S. solar developers including Solyndra LLC to declare bankruptcy.

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