The greentech industry appears to be undergoing a round of corporate shuffle, according to several announcements about new executives in the last week.
In perhaps the most talked-about change, Tesla Motors last week switched out its chief executive, Ze'ev Drori, for the company chairman, PayPal founder and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk (see Tesla Puts Musk at Helm and Musk: Tesla Hit by Market 'Freefall').
While personnel changes and new hires are nothing new, this current crop of announcements seems heavier than usual. Could the increase be a sign of things to come as companies position themselves to succeed in a weakened economy?
In another example, solar-panel manufacturer SunPower Corp. (NSDQ: SPWRA) named Dennis V. Arriola as its chief financial officer and senior vice president.
Arriola – who plans to work with the current chief financial officer, Manny Hernandez, until he retires in January – previously held the same positions at San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas Co.
Meanwhile, Aaron Thurlow, who was a regional sales manager for SunPower Corp., told Greentech Media on Thursday that he left the company to become the global sales channel manager for National Semiconductor Corp.'s renewable energy segment.
The large power-management semiconductor company in July announced it was bringing a new chip-based technology – called SolarMagic – to the market that could potentially increase the amount of electricity that solar panels can produce by up to 50 percent (see National Semi Casts Solar Magic).
National Semi has made at least three new hires this month for SolarMagic, Thurlow said. John Giddings, author of The Solar Evangelist blog and the founder of Clean Tech Integration consulting, last week became the new business development manager for SolarMagic. And Sjuli Beekhuis, who was the director of business development for Fat Spaniel Technologies, also joined the team.
In more new additions, Novomer, a company developing technology to make plastics, polymers and chemicals from pollution, hired Jim Mahoney, formerly the CEO of Surface Logix, as its new chief executive. President Charles Hamilton, who will retain his title, previously headed the company.
Mahoney told Xconomy that Novomer decided to sign on a CEO to help it commercialize its technology and added it was planning to seek another round of funding. Novomer raised $6.6 million in November. The company launched its first produce in June (see Novomer Launches CO2-Based Plastic).
Novomer also appointed Peter Shepard, the former CEO of Nylon Corp. of America, as its vice president of business development.
Finally, Martin Tobias, former CEO of troubled biodiesel company Imperium Renewables, has become the head of a startup called Kashless.org, which aims to connect people who want to reuse things, according to a blog post by Eric Engleman at the Puget Sound Business Journal.
In May, Tobias told Earth2Tech he was still considering his options.
Imperium earlier this month said it raised $18 million to pay off some of its debt and resume operations (see Funding Roundup: Closing Deals in Tough Times and Imperium 'Still Under Stress' After Recapitalizing).