Tesla is experiencing a bit of executive whiplash. Less than a week after Elon Musk delivered the first Model 3 vehicles to customers, Tesla's director of battery technology, Kurt Kelty, stepped down. He'd been at the company since 2006.
Before Tesla, Kelty worked in Panasonic's battery R&D lab. He was instrumental in developing battery manufacturing plans for the Gigafactory and executing Tesla's partnership with Panasonic.
This is one of roughly two dozen executive departures in recent months, according to a Bloomberg tally. That includes Mateo Jaramillo, the executive who built Tesla's stationary storage business. The turnover comes as Tesla seeks to ramp up production of stationary batteries, the Model 3 and the Solar Roof all at once.
Meanwhile, Tesla doubled the number of women on its board of directors in July with the addition of Linda Johnson, CEO of Ebony Media.
Johnson was elected along with another media executive, 21st Century Fox’s James Murdoch, to serve as independent board members. The board has been criticized by some investors for lacking independence from Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
In non-Tesla news, Adriana Karaboutis will join National Grid as chief information and digital officer, a new position that will tie together the utility’s digital strategy. She will be based in the U.S., but report to CEO John Pettigrew at the company’s London headquarters, according to The Wall St. Journal. She was most recently at Biogen, and was previously global CIO at Dell.
Another IT veteran, Kate Johnson, is moving from GE Digital as COO to be president and corporate vice president of Microsoft. The tech giant called out her role helping GE leverage software and data analytics for large industrial companies.
The Sierra Club has elected Loren Blackford as its new board president. For the first time in the non-profit’s 125-year history, there is now an all-female executive committee, including VP Susana Reyes, treasurer Elizabeth Walsh, secretary Robin Mann, and fifth officer Margrete Strand-Rangnes.
Jamie Nolan is stepping down as the communications director for the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative. She will be opening up her own communications consultancy, Nolan Strategic Communications, focused on energy, cleantech, climate, and transportation.
Sheridan Pauker has joined Keyes & Fox as the first female partner. Keyes & Fox is focused on energy regulatory advocacy, specifically supporting the expansion of clean energy markets in more than 40 states. Pauker is also a board member for Vote Solar.
Recurrent Energy has brought on a slew of new senior-level people, including Kyle Johnson, who moved from Constellation to his new role of managing director and head of origination and structuring. Michael Avidan joined Recurrent as senior director of corporate origination from SunPower; Michael Arndt, formerly of NRG, is now managing director of development at Recurrent; and Spivey Paup, most recently the director of solar development at E.ON, is now director of development for Texas and eastern U.S. with Recurrent.
Jean-Baptiste Cornefert also recently left E.ON, where he was he was responsible for the VPP and renewable marketing business. He is now the managing director of Sonnen eServices, where he will oversee Sonnen’s community program and new distributed energy services.
Renewable energy infrastructure group Cubico Sustainable Investments has named Stephen Riley as its new CEO. Riley had been a non-executive director at the company previously. The company has a broad portfolio across Western Europe and the Latin America. The majority of the projects are wind, but the portfolio also includes solar PV, CSP and hydro.
Jim Murphy was promoted from CFO to President/COO of Invenergy, the largest privately held North American renewable energy company. Steven Ryder was promoted to CFO. Over at Invenergy’s Future Fund, John Tough joined as a partner from Choose Energy, where he was most recently chief revenue officer.
Enertech Search Partners, an executive search firm with a dedicated cleantech practice, is the sponsor of the GTM jobs column.
Among its many active searches, Enertech is looking for a Quantitative Analyst Director within the energy efficiency sector.
The client is a late-stage startup delivering utilities cost-effective and reliable energy storage, lowering electric bills for businesses and homeowners, and reducing CO2 emissions.
Currently, the client is looking for an entrepreneurial Quantitative Analyst Director with strong mathematical skills to help drive the future of energy storage. In this role, you will primarily work on developing technical and financial models. You must have a strong understanding regional labor rates, get good estimates on cost to execute a service and maintaince program, and you must have a tenacious ability to negotiate.
The management board of insolvent PV manufacturer SolarWorld AG has resigned. Resignations include Philipp Koecke, Frank Henn, Colette Rückert-Hennen and Jürgen Stein, but exclude founder and chairman, Dr. Frank Asbeck, according to PV Tech. The company has started insolvency proceedings but still continues to look for an investor.
Bob Simmons is now at Marathon Capital as a senior managing director. He was previously at Panda Power Funds, where he was a founding partner and held various positions. At Marathon, Simmons will expand the firm’s reach into infrastructure and other asset classes and scale up its suite of advisory services to owners and operators of power generation assets, and gas generation in particular.
Surge Ventures and Surge Accelerator founder, Kirk Coburn, has joined Shell Technology Ventures. Surge Accelerator closed last year. At Shell, he will focus on investing in “new energies,” according to Xconomy. Recently, Shell Energy has been moving further into renewable power, acquiring developer MP2 Energy. Shell Technology Ventures co-led a $14 million investment in Sense Labs in 2016 and led a funding round in Geli last year worth $7 million.
Kevin Davis has joined Gardner Capital as asset manager. Gardner Capital is an affordable housing and solar development, tax credit syndication, and investment company. At Gardner, Davis will manage the company’s portfolio of housing and solar projects to ensure regulatory compliance.
President Trump has nominated energy lawyer Kevin McIntyre of Virginia to be member and chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This is the fourth nomination Trump has put up for FERC, which would give the agency a quorum when the Senate finally schedules a confirmation vote. McIntyre is co-leader of the global energy practice at law firm Jones Day.
Warren Luhning joined 7X Energy, a utility-scale solar developer, as CIO. He will lead teams responsible for project finance, merger and acquisitions and capital raising. Luhning previously managed energy finance and corporate development at Pattern Energy Group.
Jordan Collins is now general counsel and VP of strategy and policy at CalCom Solar, an EPC focusing on solar for agriculture and water. CalCom was ranked third on Inc 500’s list of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. in 2016.
And, in case you missed it, GTM’s first employee and long-time editor, Eric Wesoff — a man who one reader referred to as “the Sharknado of clean energy journalism” — has left GTM. No word yet on his next move, but we’re pretty sure he won’t be shilling for the fuel cell industry. You can read his goodbye post here.