New leaders at Patagonia, McDonald’s, Netflix
Elsa Wenzel
Wed, 10/07/2020 – 02:01

Heading into fall, this batch of career updates from the worlds of sustainability and business is somewhat top-heavy. It’s not necessarily that the game of musical chairs has intensified in the C-suite, but you’ll note major executive moves at big apparel, food, energy, finance and technology corporations, some of which have enlisted a chief sustainability officer (CSO) or equivalent for the first time. Amid myriad social, health and political crises, business sustainability is alive and well and living the Paris Agreement.

Who’s news

McDonald’s has formed a Global Impact Team to be overseen by EVP and Global Impact Officer Katie Beirne Fallon, who is departing Hilton Worldwide as EVP and head of corporate affairs. Fallon served President Barack Obama as director of legislative affairs and senior advisor.

Emma Stewart, recently with Engie Impact and WRI, was named Netflix’s first sustainability officer. The streaming media giant just started reporting on its renewable energy usage last winter. Stewart is known for her longtime service to Autodesk, whose first Sustainability Solutions product group she founded. Stewart also launched and ran research and development at BSR.

At Ventura, California-based Patagonia, Ryan Gellert is stepping into the shoes of longtime CEO Rose Marcario, who departed in June after leaving a high water mark for corporate activism. He’s at the helm of Patagonia Works, the parent company. From Amsterdam, Gellert oversaw the company in Europe, Africa and the Middle East for nearly six years, working before that at outdoor gear maker Black Diamond. That brings former VP Jenna Johnson up to CEO of Patagonia, Inc. Lisa Williams, former chief product officer, becomes head of innovation, design and merchandising.

HP Inc. has a new chief sustainability and social impact officer, Ellen Jackowski, who has led there for 12 years as global head of sustainability strategy and innovation.

Jeffrey Hogue is slipping into the CSO role at Levi Strauss, moving from the same role at C&A, where he was involved with the launch of the world’s first Cradle to Cradle T-shirt. In addition to his circular economy efforts in apparel, he has been McDonald’s senior director of global CSR. Meanwhile, Michael Kobori left Levi Strauss at the start of the year to become CSO at Starbucks.

Mattel appointed Pamela Gill-Alabaster as head of global sustainability. She brings more than two decades of sustainability expertise honed at Centric Brands, L’Oréal, Estée Lauder Companies and Revlon.

Katherine Neebe is the new president of the Duke Energy Foundation, as well as CSO and VP of national engagement and strategy at Duke Energy Corporation. Prior to this, she led ESG and sustainability stakeholder engagement at Walmart, after having spent six years with WWF on a partnership with Coca-Cola. Jeanne-Mey Sun is NRG Energy’s new CSO, joining from Baker Hughes, where she led the oil field services company’s clean energy transition strategy.

Applied Materials hired Chris Librie as director of ESG, corporate sustainability and reporting. He held the same title at Samsung Semiconductor, after leading ESG and sustainability at eBay and HP Inc.

Green chemistry pioneer John Warner, president of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, joined the biomanufacturing startup Zymergen as a distinguished research fellow. He’s also co-founder of Beyond Benign, an effort to integrate sustainability principles into K-12 chemistry education.

Chantelle Ludski is serving as the North America and Asia Pacific COO for the Anthesis Group sustainability consultancy. Previously she served as chief administrative officer for the Americas at Renewable Energy Systems, and global chief risk officer at engineering consultancy Arcadis.

Former JetBlue CSO Sophia Mendelsohn is the new chief sustainability officer and global head of ESG at IT services company Cognizant.

Richard Threlfall, a 17-year veteran of the Big Four firm KPMG, is now global head of KPMG IMPACT in addition to partner and head of infrastructure.

Former Microsoft sustainability director Josh Henretig became VP of global partnerships at Higg Co, known for the Higg Index for apparel.

Edelman named Heidi DuBois as special ESG adviser, coming from the Society for Corporate Governance via BNY Mellon and PepsiCo.

Former CEO of the Tides Foundation Kriss Deiglmeier just made a move to become chief of social impact at Splunk for Good, billed as a “data for everything” platform.

BNP Paribas is enlisting Christina Cho, in her 13th year at the bank, as co-head with Anne van Riel of Sustainable Finance Capital Markets Americas.

Jennifer Silberman has joined the hip cooler maker Yeti as VP of ESG, bringing her corporate responsibility background earned at Target, Hilton and BeyondBrands.

Former Sephora Director of Sustainability Alison Colwell moved to Novi, a safer chemistry-AI startup, as VP of business development and partnerships.

Kabira Stokes became CEO of circular economy startup Retrievr after nine years as co-founder and CEO of Homeboy Recycling.

Tod Durst advanced to president from EVP at PolyQuest, which manufactures rPET, recycled plastic resins. Founder and former EVP John Marinelli is serving as CEO and chairman.


The Institute for Sustainable Communities, which advances equitable community solutions to climate change, has appointed Deeohn Ferris as president and CEO. The environmental lawyer leaves the Audubon Society, where she was VP of equity, diversity and inclusion.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) welcomes Managing Director for Climate and Energy Claire O’Neill. The former U.K. Energy and Clean Growth minister also served as COP President for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference.

B-Lab co-founder Jay Coen Gilbert is the new co-chair of the new Imperative 21 campaign to “reset capitalism.”

Cortney Worrall is the new president and CEO of the nonprofit Waterfront Alliance, which pushes for resilience along the New York and New Jersey coasts. She comes to the organization as former National Parks Conservation Association northeast regional director.

Former Energy UK Chief Executive Lawrence Slade is the new CEO of the Global Infrastructure Investor Association.

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) brought on Nora Wang Esram from the Pacific Northwest Laboratory as senior director for research, and promoted Lauren Ross to senior director for policy from local policy director. The roles were previously held by Neal Elliott, now director emeritus, and Maggie Molina, who joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a branch chief.

Andrew Howley, a longtime National Geographic director, joined the Biomimicry Institute as chief editor of its AskNature resource of biomimetic solutions.

Thought for Food announced Melissa Ong as its Southeast Asia CEO.

On the move

Energy equipment maker GreenGen added its first director of healthy buildings, Dominic Ramos-Ruiz, who comes from the International Well Building Institute (WELL).

Global asset management firm Neuberger Berman brought on Caitlin McSherry as its ESG Investing Team director of stewardships. She’s a former VP and ESG analyst at State Street.

The Walton Family Foundation named its new environment program director, Moira Mcdonald, a freshwater conservation program officer there for a decade. She spent 12 years as a senior advisor with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Jenna Jambeck, known for advancing an understanding of marine plastic waste, has been named Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in Environmental Engineering at the University of Georgia. She’s associate director of the university’s New Materials Institute and directs its Center for Circular Materials Management. Pax Momentum startup accelerator brought on Senseware co-founder and CEO Serene Al-Momen as a professor.

Nikki Kapp came to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as a research analyst, leaving Circularity Capital.

Radha Friedman is now a senior adviser with the Uplift Agency, a woman-led social impact agency specializing in marginalized populations. She brings experience as a former Weber Shandwick VP of social impact and director of programs at the World Justice Project.

The experimental Ray Highway in Georgia, named for Interface carpet’s late sustainability hero Ray Anderson, has brought on Matthew Quirey as landscape design and research fellow.

Clare Castleman, a 2018 GreenBiz 30U30 honore, formerly of Eaton, has moved up at Self-Help Credit Union to small business support associate from clean energy intern.

Mike Pratl became market leader for KAI Design’s Civic and Municipal market in St. Louis.

On board

General Mills Foundation Executive Director Nicola Dixon is ReFED’s new board chair, succeeding co-founder Jesse Fink, who remains on the board. Stacey Greene-Koehnke, COO at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, also joined the board of the food waste think tank, while Circularity Capital Founder and CEO Rob Kaplan, moving to Singapore, has left.

The board of directors of the Green Seal product certification nonprofit brought on former U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator Jim Jones and Edward Hubbard Jr., general counsel for the Renewable Fuels Association.

Mike Werner, Google’s circular economy lead and Veena Singla, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), joined the board of the Healthy Building Network. CHEMForward pulled Kimberly Shenk, CEO of Novi, into its advisory board.

Forest carbon credit company Pachama formed an advisory board, bringing on Josh Henretig; forest scientist and Old-Growth Forest Network Founder Joan Maloof; and Scott Harrison, founder of Charity:Water.

Tom Popple, senior manager at Natural Capital Partners, is now a steering committee member of the Irish Forum on Natural Capital.

All in the GreenBiz family

Former GreenBiz Senior Editor Lauren Hepler has joined CalMatters as economy reporter. Keith Larsen, who worked under Hepler as a GreenBiz reporter, now reports on New York real estate for the Real Deal. Former GreenBiz Senior Account Manager Shaandiin Cedar brought her New Zealand adventure to GreenBiz readers this summer.

Collective Insight
Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere)
Sponsored Article
Clockwise, from top left: Deeohn Ferris, ISD; Ryan Gellert, Patagonia; Jennifer Silberman, YETI; Dominic Ramos-Ruiz, GreenGen; Jeff Hogue, Levi Strauss; Veena Singla, NRDC; Chris Librie, Applied Materials; Katie Beirne Fallon, McDonald’s; Jeanne-Mey Sun, NRG Energy; John Warner, Warner Babcock Institute.

Clockwise, from top left: Deeohn Ferris, ISD; Ryan Gellert, Patagonia; Jennifer Silberman, YETI; Dominic Ramos-Ruiz, GreenGen; Jeff Hogue, Levi Strauss; Veena Singla, NRDC; Chris Librie, Applied Materials; Katie Beirne Fallon, McDonald’s; Jeanne-Mey Sun, NRG Energy; John Warner, Warner Babcock Institute.

Accessibility Toolbar