We were wondering what happened to Steve Fludder.
Fludder, who headed up General Electric's Ecomagination unit, was the public face of GE's green strategy and a frequent public speaker. Last year, he outlined the company's second five-year plan for green technologies, which particularly emphasizes exploiting IT technologies for efficiency.
Lately, however, we hadn't heard from him.
That's because he went to Samsung last year in a very quiet transition. He is now the executive vice president overseeing that company's energy strategy. Here's his LinkedIn page. Send him a note.
Again, if you are in solar, batteries, lighting or pretty much any market, be afraid. The South Korean conglomerate is large, efficient and relentless. It unseated Sony in consumer electronics in the last decade and has set its sights on energy this decade. In 2009, it unfurled an ambitious plan to become the largest solar producer in the world by 2015 from a current base of effectively zero. It followed soon after with an announcement that it would invest $6.6 billion in Ontario on solar power plants and manufacturing centers.
The goal is currently to invest $20 billion in green worldwide and hire 45,000 workers. It has also begun to invest in startups: Nanosys got $15 million last year. Samsung will also leverage its massive manufacturing capacity in chips in the efficiency markets.
And, unlike many Asian conglomerates, Samsung is relatively nimble and willing to bring in outsiders like Fludder to help. Eric Kim, who helped turn around marketing in consumer electronics, was a lateral hire. (You can read more about Samsung's dramatic history here). Money, factories, extensive R&D capabilities, a strong brand, a hard-won expertise in consumer marketing and maniacal determination: It's a compelling package.
It is not Fludder's first Asian post. He ran GE's China group and the Asia Pacific wind group. (He also ran the water group for a time.)