Last week, we reported on the CEO drama at CIGS solar panel vendor MiaSolé. We heard from several dependable sources, both inside and outside of the company, that the Intel influence in the company is to become even more prominent. Joseph Laia will retain his CEO title for the time being, albeit in a diminished capacity, according to our sources. Bob Baker, Intel’s top manufacturing executive until his retirement in February, will step into the role of President. Baker's appointment has been verified by MiaSolé.
Boston-Power closed a substantial $125 million (presumably down) round last week and also had some substantial employee movement. CEO Keith Schmidt, CFO Steve Byram, and VP of Marketing Sally Bament have left the lithium-ion battery firm. In the interim, those duties are being managed by the board and those roles will be filled with executives to be be based in China. Also prompted by the increased focus on China, Boston-Power is reducing its 80-person Westborough staff by approximately 30 positions, while adding several hundred jobs in China as it ramps up its new manufacturing facility and R&D center.
People Power is in the home energy management segment. Their business plan has always been a little difficult to discern, first because the company was in stealth, later on because the value proposition was vague. A look at the firm's website and conversations with their CEO, Gene Wang, has always painted a picture of a company trying to do a little bit of everything in the home energy management space. The startup wanted to be part of the "internet of things" -- to work with appliance manufacturers and developers to embed devices into everything. They also had mobile device interfaces to report on your home energy usage. This is a space that Microsoft and Google have fled from, while others like Tendril and Energy Hub are at least partnering up. We've heard reports of some employees leaving and learned that the firm is undergoing a "restructuring" to focus on a more viable market segment -- their band, presumably. Or maybe mobile apps.
Bridgelux, an LED lighting startup in a difficult LED market, is cutting 53 of its 200+ employee workforce, according to the San Jose Business Journal. The firm is funded by VantagePoint Capital Partners, et al., and has raised almost $200 million in VC funding to date. According to the article, Bridgelux is shifting its focus away from two existing product lines and partnering with Toshiba, along with a $20 million investment from the Japanese firm. Bridgelux builds LED light engines.
Also on the LED lighting front, Tracy Bilbrough joined Switch Lighting (formerly known as Superbulbs) as CEO. Switch makes replacement LED lights and is also funded by VantagePoint Capital Partners.
Charles Ferer, the former president of solar leasing firm Sungevity, is moving to EchoFirst (formerly PVT Solar), to become President of the combined heat and photovoltaic startup funded by Khosla Ventures.
John Lefebvre was named President of Suntech (NYSE: STP) America. Suntech is the world's largest producer of solar panels. He reports to Suntech's Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Beebe and was most recently VP of Sales and Business Development at SolarCity.
Recurrent Energy, a North American solar project developer acquired by Sharp Solar, promoted Sheldon Kimber to the position of Chief Operating Officer.
Hara is a Kleiner Perkins-funded sustainability software startup that just installed Dan Leff as its new CEO. Leff was formerly COO of Enron Energy Services.