Jan 18
(Reuters) -U.S. solar panel maker SunPower Corp said on Thursday Chief Executive Tom Werner will retire after 18 years with the company, and will be succeeded by former Amazon.com Inc executive Peter Faricy.
Shares of the company fell 3% at the departure of Werner, an industry pioneer who said solar panels were only associated with “fringe environmentalists and off-gridders” when he became CEO in 2003.
SunPower became a public company in 2005, sold a majority stake to French energy giant Total SA in 2011 and completed the spin-off of its solar panel manufacturing operations into a new company, Maxeon Solar Technologies, last year.
For its next chapter, SunPower is seeking to improve its customer experience and marketing efforts as rooftop solar adoption increases and integrates with battery storage and electric vehicles.
“We’re anticipating what’s best for the company for the future,” Werner said in an interview, noting that he had said previously that he hoped to make SunPower “the Amazon of solar.”
Faricy, 54, spent 13 years at the online retail giant, last serving as president of its Marketplace, which allows third-party sellers to sell their goods through Amazon.
SunPower expects that experience will translate to the network of independent companies that install SunPower panels.
“In the solar business, you don’t have complete direct control over the customer experience,” Faricy said in an interview. “You really need to work well and build up this ecosystem with the group of dealers and installers that do this work all over the nation. That is very similar to the business I ran at Amazon.”
Faricy, who most recently served as CEO of global media company Discovery Inc, has no previous experience in the solar industry.
While Faricy will begin his new role on April 19, Werner will discuss the company’s fiscal performance during its first quarter 2021 earnings conference call, the company said.
Werner will also continue in his role as chairman for six months, after which the company said its board would recombine the positions of chairman of the board and CEO.

By Reuters

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