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First Solar CEO Hughes to Get $750,000 Salary, 115% Bonus Target

First Solar Inc. Chief Executive James Hughes, who last week was promoted from chief commercial officer, will receive a 36 percent increase in salary in his new position.

Hughes’s salary will increase to $750,000 from $550,000, and his bonus target will increase to 115 percent from 90 percent, Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar said today in a regulatory filing.

First Solar, the world’s largest maker of thin-film solar panels, fell to a record low on May 4 after reporting a $401 million restructuring charge related to firing 30 percent of its workforce. Shares fell 7.7 percent this week.

Hughes replaces Michael Ahearn, who took over as interim CEO after Rob Gillette was ousted last year. Ahearn’s salary was $500,000, 41 percent less than Gillette received, according to a regulatory filing. Gillette got a $5 million signing bonus when he was hired in 2009 as part of a package estimated to be worth $29.9 million for his first 15 months on the job.

A global glut of solar panels and cuts to government subsidies in the U.S. and Europe have driven down prices for solar panels 48 percent in the past year. The company announced March 17 it would would fire 2,000 employees and close a plant in Germany.

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