Tesla nabs CFO from Google, clean tech innovators head to COP21

Names in the News

Tesla nabs CFO from Google, clean tech innovators head to COP21

Sustainability career moves, Tesla, Rainforest Alliance, ChargePoint, Sonos
Clockwise from top left: Susan Arnot Heany, Rainforest Alliance; Jason Wheeler, Tesla; Pasquale Romano, ChargePoint; Mark Heintz, Sonos; Bharati Chaturvedi, Chintan.

It's hard to believe that 2015 is already winding down, but the end of the year will be far from a restful period in the world of sustainable business.

With the United Nations COP21 climate talks just a few weeks away, environmental advocacy groups, corporate sustainability departments and awards bodies already are getting busy.

Add to that the usual churn of big hires at companies with major sustainability implications and there's plenty to report for this month's Names in the News roundup of movers and shakers in green business.

Have a tip for our next installment on a big move for a colleague, or maybe a career update of your own? Shoot us an e-mail at [email protected].

Tesla snags a Google finance guru

Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla is doubling down on its financial operations with a new chief financial officer, Jason Wheeler, a 13-year veteran of the financial operation at fellow Silicon Valley tech firm Google.

Tesla electric vehicles luxury cars
<p>Luxury EV maker Tesla has found a new CFO in former Google executive Jason Wheeler.</p>

Wheeler, who has also worked for government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton and Hewlett-Packard, will take over for retiring CFO Deepak Ahuja.

The move was announced by Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a third quarter earnings call last week, when the company announced an adjusted loss of 58 cents per share despite $1.24 billion in revenue — an outcome underlying the automaker's challenge of forging a sustainable growth trajectory as it rolls out new products such as the Model X.

Wheeler previously was "basically the No. 2 finance guy at Google," Musk said on the earnings call. "I just thought he was a super smart guy, and really understood what we were doing, and was a great cultural fit for the company."

Also in play in Musk's well-documented pursuit of autonomous vehicle technology, for which R&D won't come cheap.

Who's News

Mark Heintz, Sonos

What does sustainability sound like? Mark Heintz, formerly a senior manager of corporate social and environmental responsibility at Hewlett-Packard, is about to find out in his new role as director of sustainability at wireless speaker manufacturer Sonos.

Heintz, based in Southern California, will be tasked with developing a sustainability strategic plan and implementation roadmap.

Deborah Albers, Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC)

Dell sustainability veteran Deborah Albers is embarking on a new role in the realm of green technology as vice president of social and environmental sustainability at the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition.

With global technology issues including conflict minerals, chemical management and e-waste, Albers will be tasked with aligning the efforts of EICC member companies, governments, NGOs and other stakeholders.

Susan Arnot Heany, Rainforest Alliance

After overseeing marketing, communications and development at the Sustainability Consortium, Susan Arnot Heany has moved on to a new position as director of marketing for the Rainforest Alliance.

In her new role, Arnot Heany will develop and implement the advocacy group's global marketing strategy and work to encourage businesses to embark on new collaborations together.

In the spotlight

- With less than a month to go until the United Nations COP21 climate talks kick off in Paris, the international governing body has singled out 16 companies and initiatives for Climate Solutions Awards. Among the winners for "some of the most creative examples of how businesses and communities can tackle climate change risks" were:

- Microsoft's internal carbon pricing scheme.

- Azuri Technologies' PayGo Energy product, which creates pay-as-you-go energy systems for rural homes.

- A collaboration to take "E-waste: From Toxic to Green" between the Indian NGO Chintan, Delhi’s Pollution Control Committee and the city’s Department of Environment, which aims to create jobs to keep e-waste out of landfills.

- Electric vehicle charger company ChargePoint's Electric Vehicle Charging Corridors being leveraged to build out express EV charging infrastructure.

- The Solar Market Gardens project in the West African nation of Benin, where the nonprofit Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) has created a program using solar energy to assist female farmers.