Business Briefs

By Staff | March 04, 2013

ArborGen names chief financial officer
Richard Eisenstadt has joined ArborGen Inc. as chief financial officer. As the new CFO, he will be responsible for the company’s finance, treasury and investor relations functions and will serve as an executive business partner to Andrew Baum, president and CEO of ArborGen. Eisenstadt has extensive financial and business experience, as well as a broad understanding of funding growth companies. He has more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare, life sciences and emerging technologies industries. For the past nine years he served as CFO of Tranzyme Pharma, where he raised more than $150 million in equity and debt, including the completion of the company’s initial public offering.

Agrivida appoints new vice president
Agrivida Inc. has added Barbara Wells as vice president of global strategy. As a member of the company’s senior management team, Wells will be responsible for planning and implementing Agrivida’s global commercial development and scientific collaboration activities, with an initial focus on Latin America. Wells previously served as president and CEO of ArborGen Inc. She currently serves as a director of Metabolix Inc. and as director and chair of the food and agriculture board of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. In her prior positions, Wells developed and implemented strategic plans for biotechnology portfolios in the global forestry and agricultural sectors totaling more than $600 million. She has also led successful acquisitions and joint ventures in the U.S. and abroad.

Proterro adds chief business development officer
David Austgen has joined Proterro Inc. as its first chief business development officer. Austgen has experience in opportunity assessment, commercial planning, joint ventures, contact negotiations and relationship management. Prior to joining Proterro, he served as chief development officer of Luca Technologies, where he headed up development of global partnerships as well as acquisitions and divestitures within the U.S. Austgen also spent two decades within the Shell family of companies, including the position of senior business and joint venture manager of alternative energy, biofuels at Shell Downstream Inc., where he led biofuel development in Brazil during 2008.

BTEC elects 2013 executive officers
The Biomass Thermal Energy Council has announced newly elected executive officers for the 2013 board of directors. Dan Wilson, vice president of Wilson Engineering Services, will serve as chairman. Dan Arnett, biomass coordinator for Ernst Conservation Seeds, will serve as vice chair. The position of treasurer will be filled by Robert Davis, founder and CEO of Forest Energy Corp., while John Ackerly, president of the Alliance for Green Heat, will serve as secretary. The election marks the departure of Charlie Niebling, New England Wood Pellet’s general manager, as BTEC chairman.

Novozymes appoints new president and CEO
Peder Holk Nielsen has been selected to serve as Novozymes new president and CEO, effective April 1. Nielson will replace current president and CEO Steen Riisgaard, who is stepping down after 12 years at the company’s top post, and 33 years with Novozymes and Novo Industri/Novo Nordisk. Nielsen has served as executive vice president and head of the company’s enzyme business since 2007. He has held other positions at Novozymes and Novo Industri/Novo Nordisk, including those in business development, research and development, quality management, sales and marketing.

American Biogas Council, US Composing Council join forces
The American Biogas Council and the U.S. Composting Council have signed a memorandum of understanding to help accelerate growth of the organics recycling industry. Together, the two groups represent 900 organizations. Composting and biogas systems both use natural processes to yield saleable products, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, recover soil nutrients, and reduce the need for additional landfill or incineration capacity. The groups will work to educate leaders and citizens of the benefits of organics recycling, level the playing field with smart policies, and remove unnecessary barriers to project development.

Biomass Heating Group launches in UK
The Energy and Utilities Alliance has launched the Biomass Heating Group in response to the U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change’s request for a single trade association with which to negotiate and act as a collective voice for companies involved in the biomass heating industry. The group will be led by the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council and the Industrial and Commercial Energy Association.

Solegear Bioplastics attracts new investor
Solegear Bioplastics Inc. has received a strategic investment from Best Buy Co. Inc. The investment further strengthens Solegear’s initiative to become a global leader in the bioplastics industry. In addition to recent Series A financing, led by Yaletown Venture Partners, the commitment from Best Buy Capital has accelerated development of two additional bioplastic formulations under the Polysole brand name. Both will be introduced into the wider market this year.

BNDES awards loan for Solazyme-Bunge venture
Solazyme Bunge Renewable Oils, a joint venture of Solazyme Inc. and wholly owned Bunge Ltd., subsidiary Bunge Global Innovation LLC, has received approval for a R$245.699 million ($120 million) loan from the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES). The eight-year loan will have an average interest rate of approximately 4 percent annually. The funding will support the joint venture’s first commercial-scale renewable oil production facility in Brazil, which is being constructed adjacent to Bunge’s Moema sugarcane mill in the state of São Paulo. The facility broke ground in mid-2012, and is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2013.


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