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Evergreen Solar CEO Bolts Amid Transition

The CEO of Evergreen Solar departs the embattled solar company in the middle of a transition that the company hopes will save its life.



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Evergreen Solar


is hoping to emerge from its transition to manufacturing in China as a viable solar company, and if so, it won't be with the CEO who has overseen the transition to China up until now.

After the market close on Thursday, the embattled U.S. solar company announced that its CEO, Rick Fedlt, had resigned to take over a private company. Michael El-Hillow.

El-Hillow previously served as chairman for Evergreen from October 2005 to January 2007, when he joined as CFO. In September 2009, he also assumed the responsibilities of chief operations officer, a role he will continue to serve in. Evergreen is searching for a new CFO while its controller assumes the financial duties on an interim basis.

El-Hillow is an inside man who has been with Evergreen during the recent period of transition in a key role, but the departure of Evergreen Solar's CEO was described by one analyst as "thinning the management ranks" at a time of uncertainty about the struggling company.

Some insiders vote on the future of their stock by selling shares, and some investors may read the departure of Feldt from the CEO post at Evergreen Solar as a concerning sign while the company has still not proven its transition to China and lower cost manufacturing will put it in a more competitive position in the solar sector.

Evergreen Solar currently faces de-listing from the Nasdaq due to its stock price below $1, though that's a process that could take at least another six to nine months to play out, by which time Evergreen Solar hopes to have regained its footing.

Christine Hersey, analyst at Wedbush Securities, who has been at an underperform on Evergreen Solar for an extended period of time, wrote in a flash note on Thursday afternoon, "We believe the management team may be overextended given the recent departures."

--Written by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.

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