McDonald's, SolarCity, We Mean Business: 2015 leadership shakeups

Names in the News

McDonald's, SolarCity, We Mean Business: 2015 leadership shakeups

SolarCity, C&A, CH2MHill, Levi's, Forum for the Future sustainability execs

Three weeks into 2015, and there's been no shortage of activity linked to who's who in sustainable business.

Welcome to GreenBiz's people column, covering the moving and shaking of sustainability executives in the private sector, NGO world and beyond. Each month, we recap the noteworthy hires, promotions, awards, honors and other news about the people driving change in sustainable business.

Got a tip for us (maybe about you)? Send an e-mail to [email protected].

Change at the top

Nigel Topping, formerly executive director of the Carbon Disclosure Project, this month stepped into a new role as CEO of the business climate action coalition We Mean Business.

Nigel Topping We Mean Business

"I thought it was the way I could make the most impact in the world in 2015," Topping told us last week from Davos, where he was attending the World Economic Forum annual meeting. "This is a fairly new collaboration, and I thought my skills could really help it get to the next level in terms of impact."

Topping, whose new role is based in the U.K., plans to keep the operation lean while amplifying impact. That will entail figuring out how to most effectively coordinate the efforts of collaborating partners, including BSR, The B Team, Ceres, The Climate Group, the Prince of Wale's Corporate Leadership Group and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development.

His first year already looks likely to be an eventful one — especially when it comes to hammering out concrete climate committments ahead of the looming COP 21 U.N. climate summit in Paris later this year.

"I’m meeting up with a lot of the partners and CEOs, talking about the need for simple messages from leaders that demonstrate that they’re for real — that their own organizations are in line with a 2 degree world by 2050," Topping said.

Who's news

Michael Kobori, Levi's

Michael Kobori Levi Strauss & Co.
Supermodels, movie stars, the tech industry's new golden children and... a corporate sustainability executive?

Levi Strauss & Co. VP of Sustainability Michael Kobori has been named one of Fast Company's 1,000 most creative people in business for his efforts to better incorporate recycled materials into the retailers' products in a cost-effective way.

Jeffrey Hogue, C&A

Jeffrey Hogue C&A
After nearly three years as senior director of global CSR at McDonalds, Jeffrey Hogue has joined European fashion retailer C&A as chief sustainability officer.

In his new role, Hogue will oversee sustainability efforts at the Brussels-based company’s 2,000 stores in 24 countries, where C&A employs around 60,000 people.

Jon Carson, SolarCity

Jon Carson SolarCity
A former campaign strategist for President Barack Obama is switching gears to the solar industry. Jon Carson joined the Bay Area renewable energy company in late 2014.

Carson will serve as senior director of SolarCity's ambassadors program, which aims to accelerate grassroot adoption of the technology.

Brandy Wilson, CH2M Hill

Brandy Wilson C2HM Hill
After a change in the c-suite, environmental and engineering consulting firm CH2M Hill has shuffled it's in-house sustainability team, naming Brandy Wilson director of sustainability.

Wilson, who previously served as program Manager of enterprise sustainability, will be based in the U.S.

Esther Maughan McLachlan, Forum for the Future

Esther Maughan McLachlan Forum for the Future
Sustainable development nonprofit Forum for the Future has announced the appointment of Esther Maughan McLachlan as its first Director of Communications and Networks.

Maughan McLachlan formerly served as a general manager of sustainability at Sony Europe and will be tasked with growing Forum for the Future's global brand.

On the Move

- The UK Green Building Council has announced that Julie Hirigoyen, currently UK Head of Sustainability for commercial real estate firm JLL, will replace outgoing CEO Paul King in April 2015.


-David Fenton, founder and longtime CEO of pioneering nonprofit and social communication firm Fenton, in late 2014 announced the sale of the company to a new ownership group. Bill Werde, most recently editorial director of Billboard magazine, has been named the organization's new chief executive.


- Mie Holstad, Chief Administrative Officer at Norges Bank Investment Management, and Steven A. Wechsler, CEO and President of NAREIT, have been named non-executive directors on the Board of The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, also known as GRESB.