JA Solar poaches Yingli's top US exec

JA Solar has poached Robert Petrina from troubled Chinese rival Yingli, naming him managing director and president for North America.

Petrina, who is based in San Francisco, has worked for Yingli for nearly a decade, first as the company’s business development manager for the US, and since 2009 as managing director for the Americas, a role that increasingly emphasised Latin America as well.

During that time, Baoding-based Yingli grew to become the world’s largest supplier of PV modules. More recently, however, Yingli has stumbled as a result of its staggering debt pile.

Last month, Yingli said it had been forced to restructure the repayment of one its outstanding debts.

Today, JA Solar has a market capitalisation more than four times larger than Yingli’s.

JA is not without its own internal drama, as chief executive Baofang Jin looks to take the Nasdaq-listed company private.

In his new role at JA – effective immediately – Petrina will look to drive sales across the utility, C&I and residential markets.

Petrina is also an at-large board member at the Solar Energy Industries of America (SEIA).