When Quitting is Good for Cleantech

Cathy Zoi has parted ways with the U.S. DOE
| April 25, 2011

It’s not uncommon for government officials to partner with bioenergy firms after they are out of office. Byron  Dorgan, former U.S. Democratic Senator from North Dakota, joined Codexis as a member of the renewable chemical company’s board of directors. Dorgan made the move after his term was over as did John Podesta, who joined Joule Unlimited, after his time as White House Chief of Staff ended. So what’s the big deal with Cathy Zoi, former Under Secretary for the U.S. DOE, taking a similar path? For one, Zoi left while her term at the U.S. DOE was still intact. Two, she didn’t just take a board position, Zoi joined up with a newly formed cleantech investment firm Silver Lake Kraftwerk (SLKW).

Zoi’s move, while unfortunate for the DOE, might be one of the best examples of actions truly speaking louder than words. As a staunch supporter of the cleantech sector, Zoi is proving that her time at the DOE wasn’t just about having a job. She will now have the opportunity to take her knowledge and passion for the cleantech industry and put it to good use—and one would think she saw something worth leaving for. Adam Grosser, SLKW’s investment leader, says the firm has the opportunity to “redefine the future of energy production,” when it first formed. It appears like the SLKW fund is off to a good start by adding Zoi, and it can’t hurt that the investment fund will be supported by billionaire George Soros. 

—Luke Geiver