US Solar updates on investment manager personnel changes

close up of some solar panels

US Solar (USF) has provided an update on personnel changes at its investment manager. This follows the board’s announcement, on 17 October 2022, that it would undertake a strategic review (USF’s board says that this is well advanced and it expects to deliver the outcome in Q1 2023). USF’s board says that it has been in ongoing discussions with New Energy Solar Manager Pty Limited (NESM), USF’s manager, regarding its continuing obligations and transition arrangements. As part of these, NESM has said that it has put in place incentivisation arrangements with key employees to encourage them to stay with NESM while the strategic review is being undertaken (the cost is being borne by NESM and not USF). USF’s board has also been informed of the following changes to key personnel:

  • Liam Thomas will continue to lead the Strategic Review process however will cease being an employee of E&P Financial Group Pty Limited (E&P), NESM’s parent company, from 31 December 2022. After this date, Liam will be retained as a consultant to E&P and will devote 25% of his time to USF and the Strategic Review;
  • Adam Haughton will be leaving NESM in December to pursue an alternative career opportunity;
  • Bert Snarr has been promoted to Director at NESM and will serve as the commercial lead on the Strategic Review. Prior to joining NESM, Bert worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch across a variety of M&A and corporate finance transactions. An appropriate remuneration and retention package has been put in place by NESM to reflect Bert’s role; and
  • Brian Disler, formerly general counsel of E&P’s US operations, will provide management oversight and support as well as legal expertise during any forthcoming negotiations with third parties participating in the Strategic Review.

USF’s operations unaffected by personnel changes

USF says that its asset management arrangements will remain unaffected and all activities with respect to operations and maintenance (O&M) and asset management will continue to be undertaken by the existing third-party operators. USF’s Board says that it is confident that these developments will not impact the operational performance of USF’s assets and that the remaining NESM team, with additional support from NESM’s existing advisers and consultants, will be able to continue effectively managing and monitoring the performance of all third-party O&M Contractors.

Comments from Gill Nott, USF’s chairman

“Following the announcement of our Strategic Review, the Board is sympathetic to the decision of both Liam and Adam to each separately pursue other career opportunities beyond NESM. We are grateful to Liam for agreeing a contractual commitment with his new employer to continue to lead the Strategic Review process. The Board remains fully committed to the Strategic Review process and is entirely focused on delivering a successful outcome that maximises value for all our shareholders as soon as practically possible. The Board would like to wish both Liam and Adam well in their new endeavours and thank them for their commitment to USF since its IPO”.

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