Vivint Solar CEO Butterfield steps down

Vivint Solar chief executive Greg Butterfield is stepping down less than two months after the second largest US installer of residential PV systems terminated a deal to be acquired by once high-flying SunEdison.

In a statement, the board of Utah-based Vivint did not give a reason for the move. Butterfield took the post in September 2013 and led the company’s initial public offering in fall of 2014.

David Bywater, chief operating officer at Vivint Smart Home, was named chief executive on an interim basis.

“Vivint Solar will begin a search for a permanent CEO in the coming weeks,” the statement says.

At Vivint Smart Home, Bywater was responsible for customer operations, human resources, field service and supply chain management for the nation's leading provider of smart home technology, now serving more than a million customers. 

"We believe Vivint Solar is a great company that is well positioned to be a leader in the rapidly growing distributed solar sector,” says Bywater.

Private equity investment giant The Blackstone Group owns Vivint Smart Home and is also the majority owner of Vivint Solar.

Vivint announced Butterfield’s departure after the close of trading in New York. Shares were down 3.89% to $3.21, less than one-third $9.92 at the start of this year and about one-fifth the  $15.95 last 20 July.

That was when SunEdison agreed to buy Vivint in a deal valued at roughly $2.2bn. After SunEdison failed to close it, Vivint ended the deal and then filed a lawsuit against its suitor for “willful breach” of the buyout.

On 11 April, SunEdison filed for US Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

After stumbling with the SunEdison link-up, Vivint’s board is under pressure from investors to find a chief executive who can quickly restore confidence in the company’s ability to compete and grow profits in the hot US residential solar market.

The company is scheduled to release first quarter financial results on Tuesday.