General Motors, International Paper name their first CSOs

Names in the News

General Motors, International Paper name their first CSOs

Clockwise from top left: Bill Weihl with ClimateVoice, Sophie Beckham with International Paper, Dane Parker with General Motors, Felicia Marcus with Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, Doug Cress with Ocean Conservancy, Susana Aucejo with DS Smith, Kandeh Yumkella with Rocky Mountain Institute.

February may be the shortest month of the year, but it brought no shortage of career news in sustainability spheres. Credit the leap year effect? The rise of urgency around accelerating climate policy and circular solutions, including preventing plastic waste and protecting ocean ecosystems in particular, is reflected in some newly created roles and organizations.

As you or your connections make moves in the sustainability space, please let us know. Send your own news along to [email protected].

Who's news

Bill Weihl just launched himself an audacious new gig as the founder and executive director of ClimateVoice, which seeks to mobilize employees and undergraduates to push businesses to become aggressive on climate policy. "Our goal is to recruit and empower many thousands of students to make clear to companies that they care about climate and that they want their eventual employer to be all in on climate," he told GreenBiz co-founder Joel Makower, who has this inside scoop on the ambitious effort, so far populated by volunteers. Weihl, a former tenured MIT professor, spent nearly 12 years directing sustainability efforts at two of the biggest of the Big Tech firms, Google and Facebook. The Bay Area resident serves on the boards of the Sierra Club Foundation and WeSpire.

Sophie Beckham has become the first chief sustainability officer at International Paper in Asheville, North Carolina. She has managed natural capital and forest stewardship efforts at the company since 2013. The graduate of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies spent over six years leading forestry and supply chain at IKEA Group.

Dane Parker has been named General Motors' first chief sustainability officer after more than four years at the Detroit company, being promoted from vice president of sustainable workplaces. He also counts more than two decades of leadership in facilities and environmental, health and safety efforts at Dell and Intel. 

Emilio Tenuta is the new chief sustainability officer and senior vice president in his ninth year at water, energy and hygiene leader Ecolab, moving from the Chicago area to St. Paul, Minnesota. The Kellogg MBA's chemical industry background includes leading sustainability and branding at Nalco Company.

In launching its new sustainability practice, global strategy firm Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG) is enlisting senior counselors Elizabeth Littlefield and Carol M. Browner, former leaders in the Obama administration. Littlefield, who leads the practice, has served as president and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation as well as a director at the World Bank and the CEO of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor. Browner was director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy and assistant to President Barack Obama. She was an administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 1993 to 2001. ASG has a special focus in helping to accelerate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Project Drawdown is welcoming Jamie Beck Alexander as inaugural director of the new Drawdown Labs, charged with accelerating corporate climate solutions. She led corporate partnerships at Ceres most recently, and led partnerships and institutional giving at Nest. The veteran of the Cultural Conservancy and USAID brings a Foreign service history in Asia and Africa, and has worked with indigenous populations on environmental programs.

Longtime Adobe innovation lead Liz Lowe (and GreenBiz 30 Under 30 honoree, circa 2016) is now the software maker's head of community engagement and philanthropy in Oakland, California.

Mica Crouse is Walmart's new director of global communications in corporate affairs and sustainability. The Columbia MBA comes to the Bentonville, Arkansas, colossus after leading communications efforts in clean air and clean energy at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

Doug Cress has become vice president of conservation at Ocean Conservancy, focusing on the high-impact areas of trash and plastic. He will be in charge of the nonprofit's Trash Free Seas program, including the Trash Free Seas Alliance and International Coastal Cleanup. Past roles include CEO of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums near Barcelona, Spain, and the program coordinator of the U.N. Environment Program's (UNEP) Great Apes Survival Partnership in Nairobi, Kenya.

Mark Trexler has a fresh role as futures consultant at the Futures Strategy Group. He's a longtime scholar, consultant and pioneer in climate risk with former roles at DNV GL and EcoSecurities, plus a Berkeley Ph.D. in international environmental policy. Trexler Climate + Energy Services, which he launched in 1991, is known as the first firm advising corporations in climate risk management.

On the move

— Urbint, which specializes in artificial intelligence for utilities, just enlisted Nick Stavropoulos as chief safety advisor. He's a former President and COO of Pacific Gas & Electric, former COO of National Grid USA and more recently, chief safety advisor at NiSource.

Vikram Widge, a veteran of the International Finance Corporation and the Atlantic Council, has started a new position as senior advisor of climate finance at the Climate Policy Initiative.

Susana Aucejo is the new senior R&D director at packaging brand DS Smith, as it seeks to explore circular solutions including the use of renewable materials over single-use plastics. She spent 18 years exploring packaging innovations at the ITENE research institute in Valencia, Spain.

Tom Melendez is the new senior engineering director of data products at Methane SAT, an EDF project that seeks to measure methane from space. He brings a deep Silicon Valley engineering background that includes work at Google, Skybox Imaging and Yahoo.

— The Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions selected Mariah Boyle as its new executive director. The marine biologist by training spent a decade in traceability at FishWise. (Best resume points: She hiked 4,500 miles of the Pacific Crest and Appalachian trails, then thru-paddled 140 miles through the Florida Keys.)

— Brookings Institution veteran and former technology and energy journalist Kevin Massy has been promoted at Equinor to corporate sustainability manager from strategy advisory council manager.

— Former AECom scientist Jean Youngerman is now senior principal, environmental science, at the Brown and Caldwell engineering firm's Houston branch.

— Lyndie Hice-Dunton is the first executive director at the Responsible Offshore Science Alliance. With a Stony Brook Ph.D. in philosophy and marine sciences, she most recently worked as a fisheries scientist at Tetra Tech.

Julia Robinson has been promoted at enterprise software maker Atlassian to sustainability program manager from head of people communications. She previously worked in communications at BSR.

— Oliver Wagg is communications lead of the UNEP's Finance Initiative's Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance. He's also director of communications for Impact and associate director of Ethical Team.

— George Hamilton is stepping down as president of the Institute for Sustainable Communities, which he launched in 1991 with Vermont Gov. Madeleine Kunin. The nonprofit seeks a new leader to help its work in advancing sustainability among cities and supply chains.

— Former GOJO industries Communications Director Nicole Koharik has a new position as director of enterprise marketing and corporate communications at healthcare products provider PartsSource.

Kwasi Ansu, a GreenBiz alum who holds a Yale master's in business and environmental management, recently started as program associate at startup accelerator Imagine H20.

— Brian Bauer is taking on a new role in addition to his work managing circular economy efforts at packaging company Algramo: co-instructor of circular economy at the Harvard University Division of Continuing Education.

On board

— Felicia Marcus, former chair of California's State Water Resources Control Board under Gov. Jerry Brown, is a new member of the board of directors at the University of Nebraska's Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, which seeks to increase food security without overtaxing water resources. The attorney and consultant, a member of the Water Policy Group, also has served as western director for the Natural Resources Defense Council and COO and executive VP of the Trust for Public Land.

— Kandeh Yumkella, a Sierra Leone parliamentarian who ran for president in the last election there, is joining Rocky Mountain Institute’s board of directors. He is known for pushing sustainable energy to be included among the SDGs while a special representative of the U.N. secretary-general for Sustainable Energy for All and CEO of the U.N. Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll) Initiative. He served two terms as director-general of the U.N. Industrial Development Organization.

—  The American Council on Renewable Energy gets Declan Flanagan as its new board of directors chair in June. The executive vice president and CEO of Ørsted Onshore will succeed the current chairman, BlackRock Managing Director and Global Head of Renewable Power David Giordano.

— Former Unilever CSO Jeff Seabright is joining the board of nonprofit Climate Neutral alongside fellow new member Sierra Peterson, a partner leading climate investing at venture capital firm Lionheart Ventures.

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