SolarWorld COO departs, leaving bigger role for Hillsboro exec

Gordon Brinser, SolarWorld
SolarWorld

Gordon Brinser, president of Hillsbor-based SolarWorld Industries America Inc., will now report directly to SolarWorld CEO Frank Asbeck following the departure of COO Boris Klebensberger. 

A long-time SolarWorld executive who played a key role in developing the company's Hillsboro manufacturing facility has left the company.

Boris Klebensberger, the company's chief operating officer dating back to 2001, left the German solar panel-maker last month, PV-Tech.org reported Friday. SolarWorld issued a statement to PV-Tech saying the departure had been mutually agreed upon, though the company didn't provide the circumstances behind the move.

As chief operating officer, Klebensberger oversaw SolarWorld's manufacturing operations and some corporate divisions, such as IT.

His departure means Gordon Brinser, president of Hillsboro-based SolarWorld Industries America Inc., will now oversee the company’s U.S. manufacturing functions, which includes the Hillsboro plant and another in Camarillo, Calif. He will now report directly to SolarWorld CEO Frank Asbeck.

“We see this as a positive step for Hillsboro,” said spokeswoman Devon Cichoski. “Our site will now have a more prominent role in the global operations of the company because of Gordon’s reporting relationship to the CEO. He can now participate directly with the management board.”

Klebensberger was based in Germany, though he spent three years in the U.S., starting with the company's 2006 acquisition of Royal Dutch Shell's solar business, which included the plants in Camarillo and Vancouver, Wash., and then overseeing development and construction of SolarWorld's Hillsboro plant, which later became its U.S. headquarters.

Klebensberger's exit comes at a trying time for SolarWorld.

The company in January said it would restructure its debt for the second time in a year in order to continue operations. That led several already skeptical analysts to question the company's future. SolarWorld executives, though, disagree with that outlook, believing the company's future is bright.

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