Renewable energy technology company Heliogen today announced the expansion of its leadership team with the appointment of seven exceptional leaders with backgrounds spanning Fortune 500 corporations, industry-leading energy companies, pioneering technology companies, and multinational investment banks. The appointments underscore Heliogen’s commitment to building a world-class leadership team that will speed the company’s progress toward helping to solve pressing global challenges brought on by climate change by providing decarbonization technology that aims – for the first time in history – to be more cost-effective than fossil fuels.
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Heliogen’s Leadership Team (Photo: Business Wire)
“The sheer scale of the challenges and opportunities around the climate crisis calls for an assembly of the brightest and boldest minds from a variety of disciplines, backgrounds, and identities to rise to the urgent challenge of the current moment,” said Bill Gross, CEO and founder of Heliogen. “As we assembled Heliogen’s leadership team, we pursued leaders who have demonstrated professional excellence in energy, technology, and finance while being deliberate about casting a wide net to include diverse and forward-thinking candidates. With the cleantech market attracting more investor and mainstream attention than ever before, I’m proud to introduce such an accomplished group of leaders, all of whom are making pivotal contributions to further Heliogen’s mission of replacing fossil fuels with sunlight.”
Tom Doyle, co-head of the development group, has more than 25 years of senior-level experience growing and managing a significant P&L and a deep understanding of concentrated solar power, photovoltaics, and other renewable energy technologies. At Heliogen, working with Rashaun Williams, Doyle will oversee Business Development, Project Development, Proposal Development, Project Management, Project Finance, Strategy, Business Intelligence, and Asset Management. Prior to Heliogen, Doyle was an executive vice president at NRG Energy and president and CEO of NRG Energy’s renewable energy business, NRG Renew, one of the largest renewable energy companies in the world. Doyle also served as president and CEO of NRG Solar, a company he established and expanded to become an industry leader in the high growth commercial and industrial sectors of the solar industry. Under Doyle’s leadership, NRG successfully placed more than $7.5 billion of capital that generated a significant return on equity and an annual EBITDA contribution of more than $550 million. He holds an MBA and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona.
Andy Lambert, senior vice president of production and supply chain, brings pioneering engineering leadership and product manufacturing experience to Heliogen, where he will lead development of the company’s production system and supply chain operations. Previously, Lambert spent more than nine years with SpaceX, where he developed the manufacturing and supply chain for the company’s rockets and spacecraft, before leading the company’s build reliability and quality assurance functions ahead of the first manned space flight. Prior to SpaceX, Lambert spent 13 years at BMW, most recently serving as vice president for MINI logistics and assembly production. During his time with MINI, he contributed to the rapid development of a production system that nearly tripled the output of its original installed capacity. Lambert spent nine years in the British Royal Air Force as an aircraft engineer and is a graduate of the School of Technical Training at RAF Halton military academy.
Christie Obiaya, chief financial officer, will draw on her experience from large-scale, complex energy projects to lead Heliogen’s finance team and to provide strategic support for the company’s growth. Most recently, Obiaya served as CFO and head of strategy for the energy business unit at Bechtel, the global engineering, construction and project management company. In her 11 years at Bechtel, she held leadership roles spanning finance, strategy, project development and investment, and project execution. Prior to Bechtel, Obiaya worked on renewable energy projects in Kenya and India. She began her career as an engineer, designing products and scaling up manufacturing processes at a multinational consumer goods company. Obiaya holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from MIT and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Rashaun Williams, co-head of the development group, brings his background as an investment banker and venture capitalist to his role at Heliogen, where he will focus on applying his 20 years of experience in finance, investments and sales to help the company realize its mission. Working with Tom Doyle, Williams will oversee Business Development, Project Development, Proposal Development, Project Management, Project Finance, Strategy, Business Intelligence, and Asset Management. With more than 150 investments in high-growth companies and more than 40 exits, Williams is currently a general partner in the MVP All-Star Fund. At his previous firm, Queensbridge Venture Partners, he became an early investor in Robinhood, Coinbase, Casper, Ring, PillPack, Lyft, and Dropbox. Prior to that, he worked at Wall Street firms including Goldman Sachs, Wachovia Securities and Deutsche Bank, bringing capital to emerging, diverse and alternative markets. In 2007, he founded Dixsville Partners, a private equity fund investing in infrastructure development and mineral companies in West Africa. Williams is a summa cum laude graduate of Morehouse College.
Thomas Patrick, chief of staff, will serve as strategic advisor and counsel to the CEO and collaborate with the leadership team on business strategies. Patrick has built his leadership career at multiple global financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank, where he served as CEO of the USA Corporation and the Americas region and co-head of the Corporate & Investment Bank (CIB) in the Americas. Patrick was a member of the Deutsche Bank USA Board, the CIB Executive Committee and a permanent guest on the Management Board. Prior to Deutsche Bank, Patrick was at Bank of America Merrill Lynch for 18 years, holding various senior positions including head of global banking and markets strategy and portfolio management, and co-head of global equities. Patrick holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia University.
Debbie Chen, general counsel, an experienced legal advisor to technology and startup companies, will focus on implementing an effective compliance program at Heliogen to ensure adherence to legal requirements and broader company values. Previously, Chen served as general counsel at Idealab, a role in which she worked with Heliogen applying knowledge of general corporate law since the company’s inception. Prior to Idealab, she was with the law firm of Latham & Watkins LLP. Chen holds a B.S. degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Tanya Peterson, vice president of human resources, brings to her role at Heliogen a well-rounded background in multiple areas of human resources (HR) from working with high-performance teams in the finance and technology industries. At Heliogen, Peterson will lead the HR and talent teams in building and scaling an engaged, inclusive, and high-performing culture. Previously, Peterson served as head of human resources at global equity firm Los Angeles Capital Management where she was responsible for a variety of functions, including recruiting, talent management, diversity and inclusion, and internal communications. Prior to Los Angeles Capital Management, Peterson was at Yellowpages.com where she led HR initiatives for Engineering and other teams. Before Yellowpages.com, Peterson was the Head of HR for Idealab where she managed all HR operations and talent acquisition for Idealab and more than 150 of its portfolio companies. Peterson holds a B.A. in business management from Hartwick College.
The new executives join Steve Schell, chief technology officer, and Vikas Tuteja, head of strategy and analytics, on Heliogen’s leadership team.
Heliogen is a renewable energy technology company focused on eliminating the need for fossil fuels in all sectors of the economy and empowering a sustainable future. The company’s Sunlight Refinery™ aims to cost-effectively deliver near 24/7 carbon-free energy in the form of heat, power, and green hydrogen fuel at scale for the first time in history. Heliogen was created at Idealab, the leading technology incubator founded by Bill Gross in 1996.
In November 2020, TIME included Heliogen’s HelioHeat™ technology on its Best Inventions of 2020 list. In April 2020, Fast Company selected Heliogen as a recipient of a 2020 World Changing Ideas Award for its technology. The company won the Energy category.