If this were a reality TV show, it would be called America's Next Top Solar Skipper.

In late April, First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) initiated a process to find a new CEO to step in for Mike Ahearn, who has served in that role since 2000. Ahearn has decided to focus his energy on policy constraints facing the solar industry, and he will do so from the chairman's seat. As CEO, he presided over a period of remarkably consistent growth and execution, and he will be a tough act to follow.

The executive search has concluded (without America's text message-based vote), and First Solar has selected Rob Gillette, CEO of Honeywell's (NYSE:HON) Aerospace business group. What's Mr. Gillette's story? Cue the inspirational background music, please.

Honeywell Aerospace is the industrial conglomerate's biggest unit. When Gillette took the helm in 2005, this was a $9.8 billion business. Today it's an $11 billion business. That's clearly a more mature growth trajectory than First Solar and competitors such as SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWRA) (NASDAQ:SPWRB) sport, but First Solar has grown into a multibillion-dollar business, and it needs a big league manager at this point.

Reading up on Gillette's management tenure, this quote of his stood out for me: "Mainly, I select people, put them in the right positions and roles, listen to them, and alleviate what gets in their way." That last bit is strongly reminiscent of Ahearn's view of the solar business, when he spoke at the company's recent analyst/investor day about shaping the business to resolve industry constraints. Aside from already being based in Arizona, Gillette felt like a natural fit here. His decade-long stint at General Electric (NYSE:GE) can't hurt, either.

When he begins on the first of October, Gillette will instantly be thrown into the middle of a turf war. His response to cutthroat competition by the likes of Suntech Power (NYSE:STP) and Yingli Green Energy (NYSE:YGE) in Germany will be an early test of his managerial mettle. I wish him the best, and I look forward to seeing what he can do as America's Next Top Solar Skipper. Stay tuned, Fools.

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Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. Check out his CAPS profile or follow his articles using Twitter or RSS. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.