Hoku Scientific head resigns - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hoku Scientific head resigns

Dustin Shindo Dustin Shindo

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hoku Scientific co-founder Dustin Shindo has resigned as chairman and CEO of the tech company.

Shindo said he was leaving for personal reasons and to hasten transition at the company, which is now controlled by Tianwei New Energy of China. He will continue to hold a consulting position with the company.

Wei Xia of Tianwei New Energy will succeed Shindo as chairman while Scott Paul, the company's chief operating officer, will move up to chief executive officer. Wei Xia said his investors had hoped Shindo could remain longer but understood his reasons.

Founded in 2001, Hoku Scientific initially focused on the hydrogen fuel cell business, then raised cash to build a plant in Idaho to make polysilicon, the key ingredient in most solar panels. Most of the cash came from future customers who backed Hoku in the hopes that a new producer would alleviate a global shortage.

Shindo negotiated a series of deals that locked in lower prices for solar power companies that funded plant construction. When the global shortage of polysilicon abated and credit began to dry up, Shindo returned to his investors and renegotiated his contracts giving his backers better terms and Hoku more time.

As finance conditions worsened, Shindo ceded control by agreeing to let Tianwei take a majority stake in the company. The polysilicon plant is now almost finished and will begin running this year.

Shindo previously founded a microbrewery on the Big Island and once explained that by saying, "It's all chemistry."

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