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April 18, 2019: New CEOs and board shuffles in the energy storage industry

Crisis hit utility PG&E reshuffles board and appoints new CEO


A major reshuffle at US utility PG&E Corporation has made William Johnson the firm’s new CEO and president and seen 10 new directors appointed and seven serving directors step down, the company announced on April 3.

William Johnson

The changes were made to reflect PG&E’s focus on ‘strengthening its safety culture and operational effectiveness’ and navigating the Chapter 11 process following wildfire-related issues last year, the company said.

Johnson spent six years as president and CEO of the US’s largest publicly owned utility, Tennessee Valley Authority, with the organization achieving the best safety records in its 85-year history.

Johnson starts in late April.

Meanwhile, Richard Barrera, Jeffrey Bleich, Nora Mead Brownell, Cheryl Campbell, Michael Leffell, Kenneth Liang, Dominique Mielle, Meridee Moore, Kristine Schmidt and Alejandro Wolff, were elected to the board.

They join continuing PG&E directors Fred Fowler, Richard Kelly and Eric Mullins on the Board.

New CEO at UK energy storage firm Engie

UK energy storage firm Engie announced Nicola Lovett will take over from Wilfrid Petrie on May 1 as the new CEO of the company’s UK and Ireland unit.

Nicola Lovett

Lovett was divisional CEO for Engie’s business energy and services.

Petrie, who joined the firm in 1999, will work in Paris for the wider group’s executive committee as well as being head of the firm’s France B2B client solutions businesses

Fluence promotes energy storage veteran to CTO

US energy storage firm Fluence named power industry veteran Brett Galura as its new chief technology officer on March 28. He was previously vice president of customer solutions.

Brett Galura

Galura was a key architect of Fluence’s lithium ion Advancion energy storage platform.

Galura will lead teams in the US and Germany, continuing the development of Fluence’s Advancion, Siestorage and SunFlex platforms.

He will also leverage the company’s relationship with Siemens and AES — the firms that launched Fluence in January 2018 — to further advance its technical capabilities. 

All change at CellCube

CellCube Energy Storage Systems announced the appointment of Stefan Schauss as the CEO of its subsidiary CellCube Energy Storage on March 21.

Stefan Schauss

Schauss has worked at Gildemeister Energy Storage and Greensmith Energy Management Systems.

Schauss was appointed to CESS’ board of directors on December 10, and has been president and CEO of the Canadian vanadium redox flow battery firm’s wholly owned subsidiary, Enerox, since April 2018.

On March 19 Cellcube announced the appointment of Michael Nobrega, Brett Whalen and Henrik Mikkelsen to its board of directors. The directors joined Schauss, Henk van Alphen and Bruno Arnold. 

Cellcube also announced in March the resignation of Chris Hopkins as its chief financial officer. Hopkins, will be replaced by a team led by chartered professional accountant John Dyer.

Carlyle Group names new head of renewable energy team

Global investment firm The Carlyle Group announced on April 16 it had hired Pooja Goyal as a partner and head of its Renewable and Sustainable Energy Team.

Goyal will lead the company’s team of investment professionals, and starts in the New York office in July.

IREC elects two new board members

US clean energy organization Interstate Renewable Energy Council announced the election of two new members to its board of directors on April 2. They are: Ronny Sandoval, of the Environmental Defense Fund, and Jetta Wong, an energy policy consultant and former director of the US Department of Energy Office of Technology Transitions.  

FERC appoints new administrative law judge 

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced on April 1 it had appointed Andrew Satten as its administrative law judge. 

Andrew Satten

Satten joined FERC’s office of Administrative Law Judges and Dispute Resolution in 2012 where he worked as its supervisory attorney adviser.

On March 7, FERC announced the appointment of Jignasa Gadani as director of the Office of Energy Policy and Innovation and Lindsee Gentry as deputy director of the Office of External Affairs. Gadani has been at FERC since 2001. Gentry started as communications director in September 2017.


Leclanché promotion in e-transport sector

Swiss energy storage company Leclanché announced on March 6 it had appointed Philip Broad as its executive vice president to spearhead the company’s e-Transport Solutions business.

Philip Broad

Based at the company’s headquarters in Yverdon, Switzerland, Broad will report to Anil Srivastava, CEO of Leclanché.

Broad joined Leclanché in August 2018 as vice president of commercial vehicle leading application engineering, programme management and sales.

Benchmark Minerals hires two: ex-Tesla expert Vivas and Hofer as analyst

Benchmark Minerals made two new hires in early April. Vivas Kumar has been appointed principal consultant and José Hofer joins as senior analyst, forecasting.

Vivas Kumar

Kumar joins from Tesla where he was responsible for building Tesla’s lithium ion battery supply chain from May 2017 to April 2019. Here he sourced a multi-billion dollar yearly spend portfolio of battery metals and chemicals, as the world’s biggest battery plant emerged.

Hofer joins the UK-based firm from Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile, a lithium producer, where he was business intelligence manager based in Santiago. He will be responsible for the firm’s quarterly forecasting subscriptions.

ENGIE Fabricom makes six appointments

UK firm ENGIE Fabricom — part of global energy group ENGIE — announced six new appointments in March — Clive Rounce becomes head of continuous improvement, Nick Maynard head of procurement, Jo Fox as head of finance, Andrew Stephens as head of business development, Mark Bryant as interim commercial director, and David Livingstone has been made the company’s new proposal manager.

The firm said the appointments were made to meet the firm’s ambitions of achieving a turnover of £150 million ($177 million) by 2022.