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Names in the News

KFC nabs a new CSO, and nonprofits add roles amid tech layoffs

The sustainability community is still hiring through a volatile market.


From left to right. Top line: Sally Uren, Mackenzie Murtaugh, Nira John, Sheri Hickok. Middle Row: Maria Butters, Stacie Betley. Bottom Row: Judith Simon, Jessie Stork, Farhan Ahmed, Brad Crabtree. Image by Jesse Klein/GreenBiz.

The first quarter of 2023 was shaky for the job market. It seemed every week a new tech company was announcing a round of layoffs and a month later, another round. And even companies synonymous with sustainability leadership laid off bits of their sustainability teams, including at Google, Salesforce, Disney and Microsoft. 

While that created an uneasy entrance into 2023, these tech layoffs could actually be a gift for the emerging climate tech industry seeking to scoop up veteran talent. Unfortunately, the sustainability startup darlings Impossible Meats and Plenty also had layoffs this quarter. Despite all that, here were some of the most interesting professional moves over the last three months. 

Big moves for big names

KFC Global announced that Nira Johri would join as the new chief sustainability officer. At Verra, a standard setter for the carbon market, Farhan Ahmed became chief program management officer and Judith Simon became president. The Science Based Targets initiative created a new role, chief impact officer, for Maria Outters. (Listen to our interview with her on GreenBiz 350.)

Hiring looks strong at nonprofit and the public sector

Other nonprofits also saw an influx of talent. The Circulate Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving the ocean plastic pollution, added Annerieke Douma as director of programs and Madhushree Narayan as responsible sourcing program manager. Sally Uren, chief executive of Forum for the Future, joined the Board of Trustees at Galapagos Conservation Trust. Evergreen Action promoted Lena Moffitt to executive director. 

The nonprofit Climate Voice hired Deborah McNamara from 350 Colorado as its co-executive director alongside Bill Weihl. The Zero Emission Transportation Association brought on Albert Gore as its executive director. And the Carbon Capture Coalition moved Jessie Stolark into the executive director role taking over for Brad Crabtree, who the Biden administration appointed as assistant secretary for fossil energy and carbon management at the U.S. Department of Energy.  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture named Simon Liu administrator of its Agricultural Research Service. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture welcomed Oklahoma department of Agriculture Secretary Blayne Arthur as vice president.

Startups ride the wave

Climate startups are strategically using this moment of instability in tech. For example, carbon management and accounting platform nZero enticed Meta and Salesforce veteran Will Gradin to serve as chief product officer. After six years at Beautycounter, Mackenzie Murtagh moved to serve as the sustainability manager at Bluebird Climate, a startup with a mission to decarbonize the consumer products industry. 

Other moves

Climate Impact Partners, a carbon finance business, appointed Sheri Hickok to be chief executive officer and ShanMae Teo as chief financial officer. 2021 GreenBiz 30 Under 30 awardee Stacia Betley left Amy’s Kitchen to join MegaFood as director of sustainability and social impact. Darn Tough Vermont, an outdoor clothing retailer, hired Kristen Graf as global director of environmental and social responsibility. GKN Automotive named Tom Salisbury director of sustainability. He comes to the plug-in hybrid car systems company after having led sustainability teams at Vodafone Group and AB Inbev. 

JLL’s Clean Energy and Infrastructure Advisory team welcomed Doug Mackenzie as vice president of  energy resilience. And Vestaron, a producer of peptide-based bio-pesticides, announced that Sarah Fox has joined the company as vice president of sustainability.

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