City sustainability leadership deepens; banks build new environmental roles

It’s never a dull time to be in the business of solving climate change, but these sustainability professionals are giving a new meaning to the phrase “fresh start” as 2020 arrives. 

What better way to enter the new year than by checking out the latest career moves in your field? Welcome to the latest edition of Names in the News, with the newest sustainability moves and shakes for the upcoming decade.

It’s been a while since our last update, and par for the course in this fast-paced world much has changed. There is evidence of nonprofit leadership shifts, finance taking sustainability more seriously, a leather company adding an environmental executive and more.  

As the decade unfolds and you or your friends make moves in the sustainability space, let us know. Our email is always open — submit the news to [email protected].

And now, onto what you’re here for.

Who’s news

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently added a new role as chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a coalition of nearly 100 local politicians that have committed to taking action on climate change. As national participation in the Paris Agreement wavers, it’s a critical time for city and state leadership.

Suzanne Lindsay-Walker joined UPS as the new chief sustainability officer and vice president of environmental affairs. She previously served as director of sustainability at supply chain logistics company Brambles and before that, grocery retailer Kroger. Lindsay-Walker succeeds Tamara Barker, who retired early last year after over three decades with the company.

The founder and former CEO of Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Jean Rogers, has taken a new post at the Long-Term Stock Exchange as chief resilience officer. The organization is working on changing the way public markets and the financial system view long-term results and gains.

Citibank’s parent company, Citigroup Inc., recently created a new and timely role: chief sustainability officer. It appointed its managing director and global head of sustainability Valerie Smith to the position.  

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has a new president and CEO, environmental authority Gina McCarthy. She formerly served as chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama and has an extensive background in environmental nonprofit leadership.

Fernando Bellese joined PrimeAsia Leather Company in the newly created chief sustainability officer role, coming from a sustainability position in the leather division at JBS S.A., the Brazil-based business that’s the largest meat processing company in the world. As more scrutiny comes to the climate impacts of companies’ use of animal agriculture, the leather company is looking to enhance the sustainability of its operations.

Sustainable finance veteran Libby Bernick joined Morningstar, the global financial services research firm, to lead its global sustainability program as head of sustainability. She previously served as managing director and global head of corporate business at Trucost, part of S&P Global.

Liberty Mutual Insurance appointed its first chief sustainability officer, veteran Liberty Mutual executive Francis Hyatt. The move comes at a time where the company has said that it drastically will limit future underwriting for and investment in coal risks.

On the move

Some shakeups have occurred at Maersk, the shipping company that has made headlines recently with pledges to decarbonize. Its now-former chief financial officer, Carolina Dybeck Happe, left to join General Electric as CFO. In addition, Søren Toft, former Maersk COO, will join competitor MSC as CEO.

Nigel Topping has left his role as CEO of the We Mean Business coalition, the organization founded in 2014 for the business community to advocate for stronger climate action.

Long-time campaign and marketing and communications expert Bartees Cox has joined community solar organization Groundswell’s team as director of marketing and communications. Previously, he served as communications director at Climate Nexus.

Howie Fendley, director of projects and senior chemist at MBDC and circular economy designer, is leaving his job to launch his own venture, Fendley Sustainability Advisors.

Bergen Hubert has a new role as manager in the built environment program at the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. She previously worked at ERM on environmental health and safety.

Coming from The Climate Group, Kristin Hanczor is joining Green Sports Alliance as senior head of partnerships.

ING has named Dan Shurey as the new vice president of sustainable finance in the Americas. He comes to the bank from Bloomberg NEF, where he headed its green finance program.

Leia Guccione has taken over the helm of Rocky Mountain Institute’s Electricity Program as the new managing director working on decarbonizing the energy and engineering sector. 

The Produce Marketing Association, the trade organization representing companies across the produce and floral supply chain, named a new chief science officer, Max Teplitski. He’ll lead science, technology, supply chain and sustainability efforts for the organization.

The Clean Energy Leadership Institution (CELI) has a new development and operations manager: Rachel Kriegsman. She’ll be driving CELI’s scaling strategy as it expands to additional cities.

Veteran journalist Andy Revkin has joined Columbia University’s Earth Institute to launch a new initiative on communication and sustainability.

Ed Crooks, former energy editor at the Financial Times, joined Wood Mackenzie in a newly created role as vice-chair of energy in the Americas. 

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) announced that Jason Hartke has joined the organization as executive vice president of advocacy and policy. He comes from past posts in government and nonprofits, most recently as president of the Alliance to Save Energy.

On board

Three sustainability experts have joined the board of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI): Jad Daley, president and CEO of American Forests; Patricia Layton, director of Clemson University’s Wood Utilization + Design Institute and professor of Forestry at Clemson University; and Jeff Bromley, chair of the United Steelworkers Wood Council.

GRI, provider of sustainability reporting standards, recently welcomed four new members to its board for 2020. They are Eelco van der Enden, partner at PwC Tax Administration Consulting; Jessica Fries, executive chair of A4S, The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project; Lance Y. Gokongwei, president and CEO of JG Summit Holdings; and Jyrki Raina, global industrial relations expert, formerly general secretary of the IndustriALL Global Union.