Advanced Energy shares fall on CEO resignation

FORT COLLINS – Advanced Energy Industries Inc. shares fell as much as 13 percent Tuesday following an announcement Monday that CEO Garry Rogerson planned to resign.

Shares fell to $16.52 Tuesday morning after opening at $19. The Fort Collins-based company makes solar and thin-films products.

New York City-based analyst Needham & Co. LLC downgraded the stock from a “buy” to “hold” Tuesday. Rogerson is viewed as a key figure in driving major operational changes aimed at strong earnings growth at Advanced Energy, Needham senior analyst Edwin Mok said in a report.

Rogerson’s planned departure follows the resignation of Advanced Energy’s solar unit President Gordon Tredger, who will receive a total of $241,000 in severance pay.
Tredger had worked for Advanced Energy since 2011, the same year Rogerson joined the company.

“We are concerned that multiple high-level executive departures in such a short time would cause major disruption of the business,” Mok said in his report.

“While AE continues to look for a replacement for Mr. Tredger, we question the effectiveness of the solar energy business now that Mr. Rogerson is also leaving,” Mok added.

Rogerson will receive severance of a single lump payment of $600,000, equal to 12 months of his base annual pay, in addition to a portion of his $600,000 target bonus. If his employment terminates at the end of August, for example, Rogerson will receive $400,000, or eight-twelfths of the bonus.

Rogerson will stay on until a new CEO is hired. He will received $66,000 per month as an adviser to Advanced Energy for six months after the company finds a new CEO.

Company shares had fallen more than 7 percent to $17.58 in afternoon trading. Advanced Energy employed about 400 people in Fort Collins last year, according to data compiled by BizWest.

Advanced Energy posted first-quarter earnings of $14.7 million compared with $6.8 million during the same period a year earlier.

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