Tesla poaches SunPower's money man; L.A. gets a new oil czar

Names in the News

Tesla poaches SunPower's money man; L.A. gets a new oil czar

corporate sustainability careers Tesla, SunPower, Pacific Institute, WRI
Clockwise from top left: Jennifer Layke, World Resources Institute; Jason Morrison, Pacific Institute; Uduak-Joe Ntuk, city of Los Angeles; Richard Howitt, International Integrated Reporting Council; Eric Branderiz, Tesla.

An accounting whiz jumps from one clean tech giant to another and two familiar environmental policy outfits pick up new leaders in this month's Names in the News roundup of big hires, promotions and other career news in green business.

Meanwhile, a city that's been making headlines for its efforts to go green redoubles its focus on ... oil?

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

Who's news

Eric Branderiz, Tesla

Former SunPower finance executive Eric Branderiz is hitting the road for a newly created role in the C-Suite at Tesla. Branderiz will serve as the electric automaker's first chief accounting officer with the proposed merger of Tesla founder Elon Musk's other clean tech company, SolarCity, not far off on the horizon.

The new hire also comes at a time of experimentation in the price point of new models Tesla is designing, not to mention the company's budding battery and electric charger businesses.

Uduak-Joe Ntuk, city of Los Angeles

LA may be famous for its smog and sprawl, but the Southern California city is in the process of spending billions to overhaul its transportation and energy systems. Interestingly, the city this month also filled a job that the Los Angeles Times reports has not been filled full time in decades: "petroleum czar."

Uduak-Joe Ntuk, a veteran of oil giant Chevron and the neighboring city of Long Beach, will serve as the city's petroleum administrator. He also has completed sustainability training at the London Business School and with the nonprofit Green for All.

"I will focus on doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of LA’s communities, while taking a measured approach to the many complex issues raised by fossil fuel extraction in a large city," Ntuk said in a statement released by the mayor's office.

Jennifer Layke, World Resources Institute

WRI's building efficiency expert has been tapped to head the think tank's growing global energy program. 

A veteran of Johnson Controls, Layke will shift her focus to reducing the carbon footprint of energy systems at a time of increased demand for power, particularly in growing economies such as China and India.

Jason Morrison, The Pacific Institute

A 23-year veteran of Oakland water research and policy outfit the Pacific Institute is taking the reins at the organization as founder Peter Gleick steps into a new role as president emeritus and chief scientist.

Morrison is also well acquainted with business issues surrounding water scarcity and quality as the head of the U.N. Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate.

On the move

— European Parliament member and corporate disclosure advocate Richard Howitt has signed on as the CEO of the International Integrated Reporting Council. He will start Nov. 1 after stepping down from his governmental post.

— Apple has hired Zeyu Li, a veteran of Oculus Rift and a secretive virtual reality startup called Magic Leap, at a time when questions are swirling about how a range of sectors — sustainability included — stand to be affected by the emerging technology. 

— As real estate developers scramble to comply with increasing sustainability standards and environmental risks such as extreme weather, North American multifamily housing developer ParkMerced has hired Stephen Linaweaver to spearhead planning for evolving transportation and energy infrastructure at subsidiary ParkMerced Labs.