Big hires at UPS, Facebook, SolarCity; ex-NRG boss David Crane's new gig

Names in the News

Big hires at UPS, Facebook, SolarCity; ex-NRG boss David Crane's new gig

sustainable business jobs NRG Energy, Facebook, SOlarCity
Clockwise from top left: Whitney Tome, Green 2.0; Regina Dugan, Facebook; David Crane, Pegasus Capital; Tamara Barker, UPS; Leah Seligmann, The B Team; Jon Wellinghoff, SolarCity.

Forget April Fools. This month has seen a slew of serious shakeups in sustainable business, with new executives taking the helm at Facebook, UPS and SolarCity, to name a few.

It's all part of April's Names in the News round up of big hires, promotions and other people-driven news in green business.

Have a tip for our next installment? Shoot us an e-mail at [email protected].

Google's advanced tech guru jumps to Facebook

What would a social media company want with the former head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA?

You'd have to ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who this month poached defense technology vet Regina Dugan from Google's Advanced Technology And Products team.

In her previous role, Dugan worked on projects ranging from 3-D mapping to smart fabric, Fortune reports, making it unclear what she might take on at neighboring Silicon Valley tech giant Facebook.

Although the company is best known for its social networking platform and related advertising and communications technologies, Dugan told Fortune rather coyly that her new team "will focus on ambitious R&D as a means to create breakthrough products."

Although its not yet clear how those ambitions might include technologies related to sustainability, Facebook has been a pioneer in both clean energy buying and green building.

Who's news

David Crane, Pegasus Capital

Former NRG Energy CEO and noted clean energy advocate David Crane, a GreenBiz editor at large, has accepted a new role as senior operating executive for New York private equity firm Pegasus Capital.

"David's worldwide network and reputation in the renewable energy space will complement Pegasus' efforts to build business platforms that promote sustainable distributed energy," Pegasus Founder and CEO Craig Cogut said in a statement. "Our strategy of deploying capital into sustainable business and expanding those business from domestic to global corporations will benefit greatly from his experience and leadership."

Tamara Barker, UPS

Shipping and logistics stalwart UPS has a new chief sustainability officer: Tamara Barker, a 30-year veteran of the company with technical experience that includes her most recent role as west region director of plant engineering.
Barker succeeds former CSO Rhonda Clark, who has been named vice president of corporate plant engineering.

In her new role, Barker will focus on the company's 2020 goals and the impact of UPS' facilities and carbon footprint at a time when technology-enabled, on-demand delivery is dramatically changing the industry.

Jon Wellinghoff, SolarCity

From energy regulator to chief solar policy officer for former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Jon Wellinghoff, who was hired to run SolarCity's policy operations earlier this month.

The move comes just a few months after the solar industry avoided a prospective financial cliff with the extension of the federal 30 percent solar Investment Tax Credit. From Nevada to North Carolina, a host of state-level fights are playing out when it comes to the rules that will govern both incumbent utilities and clean energy entrants such as SolarCity.

Whitney Tome, Green 2.0

Environmental Defense Fund and National Parks Conservation Association veteran Whitney Tome is taking the reigns at Green 2.0, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to increasing diversity in the notoriously homogeneous would of environmental organizations.

Tome, who previously served as a member of Green 2.0's working group on diversity in sustainability, is also on staff at D.C. public affairs firm The Raben Group.

Leah Seligmann, The B Team

Another former NRG executive, in this case the independent power producer's inaugural chief sustainability officer, Leah Seligmann, has accepted a new role as director of the B Team's Net-Zero 2050 initiative.

The program calls on both government and business leaders to achieve a global goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The B Team is a nonprofit coalition launched by business luminaries including Virgin mogul Richard Branson and Salesforce founder Marc Benioff.

On the move

— Less than two years after hiring its first chief resilience officer, Victoria Salinas, the city of Oakland has appointed a new CRO: Kiran Jain, who previously served as chief strategy officer for infrastructure financing startup Neighborly.

— After five years at the helm of sustainable business training ground the Presidio Graduate School, president William Shutkin announced last week that he will step down from the leadership position at the San Francisco school in June. Presidio will conduct a full search for Shutkin's replacement and has appointed Mark Schulman, former president of nearby Saybrook University, to lead this school as provost in the interim.