First Solar CEO Gives Himself A Raise

First Solar (FSLR) released its proxy filings, which means we get to see how much the thin film leader pays its executives.

Michael Ahern, the company’s chief executive, saw his total compensation for 2008 jump to $3.3 million, up from $1.8 million in 2007. Ahern’s base salary was $507,000, he received $2.3 million in stock awards, with the rest made up of other forms of compensation.

Other executives received pay bumps, as well. Bruce Sohn the company’s president pulled in $4.3 million in total compensation, up from $3.64 million. The CFO Jens Meyerhoff received $2.7 million up from $2.4 million. And John Gaffney, who came on as a EVP and Corporate Secretary landed a sweet deal for himself getting $9.6 million. He joined the company last year and got a signing bonus of $7 million, which will be doled out in “20 equal quarterly installments, commencing on March 31, 2008,” according to the filing.

Ahern’s salary is pretty much chump change for a man helming an industry leading company with a market cap of $12 billion. However, the company’s stock price dipped to $140 by year’s end, from $267 at the start of the year, though it had a nice ride over $300 in the middle of the year.

More importantly, net income and net sales were way up in 2008. First Solar’s net income was $348 million in 2008, up 119% from $158 million in 2007. Net sales were $1.3 billion in 2008, up from $503 million in 2007.

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