Solarcentury chief executive steps down

The man who led one of the country's biggest solar firms through some of the most turbulent times the industry has seen has stepped down.

Derry Newman, a former managing director of Sony UK, joined Solarcentury in 2006 and steps down today (January 13).

The timing of the announcement, coming on the day the Feed-In Tariff (FITs) fight goes back to court does appear a little strange.

But, he certainly leaves the business in a much stronger strong position with its most recently filed accounts at Companies House showing bumper profits.

In the accounts, filed in March last year, turnover was up 45.8% to £50,316,123 from £34,518,174 in 2010.

Profits after tax were also up by 474.2% to £2,719,788, beating a loss of £726,911 during the same period last year.

In a statement on his departure Solarcentury said Mr Newman had led the company through its second cycle of raising venture capital investment through to profitability.

That certainly rings true when you see that as recently as 2008 the business was making a loss of more than £3m after tax.

During Mr Newman’s reign Solarcentury appeared in the annual Sunday Times Tech Track 100 league table of the fastest growing UK tech companies four times (2006, 2008, 2010, 2011), making it one of the fastest growing British renewable energy companies of any kind.

Mr Newman said: “My memories are many but I will particularly treasure the work we did installing solar in so many schools and opening a system with Alistair McGowan whilst he was being David Attenborough to 200 teenagers.

“I am happy to say that it is not a farewell to the Solarcentury – SolarAid community. I hope to lend my experience to its on-going social entrepreneurship.

Meanwhile, the individual who takes over the helm of this flagship of green industrial revolution has a rare privilege to lead a special company to a greater future and I wish them every success.”

Solarcentury founder and chairman, Jeremy Leggett, said it was ‘sad news’ for the company.

He added: “Derry is an exceptional leader and manager, who has led this company through a minefield since the credit crunch unfolded and Big Energy blowback began in earnest against the renewables industries.

“Not only did he lead in keeping us alive, he and the team he moulded broke records and won elite awards as he did it.”

Luke Walsh

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