September 15, 2021 – Executive search firm Hobbs & Towne has assisted in the recruitment of Lila Tretikov as chairperson of Cervest’s board of directors. “Lila’s experience is incredibly unique,” said Iggy Bassi, founder and CEO of Cervest. “She brings to Cervest an important combination of climate and sustainability knowledge coupled with technology and AI expertise. She understands the strategic and operational issues CEOs face and shares our vision that climate intelligence will one day be at the core of all business decision-making,” he said. “Her leadership will prove extremely valuable as we bring the Cervest platform to enterprises and governments worldwide.”
Ms. Tretikov is an expert across artificial intelligence (AI), technology-enabled business transformation and climate science. She currently serves as corporate vice president and deputy chief technology officer at Microsoft. Before joining Microsoft, she was SVP of Engie SA, a multinational energy company, and CEO and vice chairman of Terrawatt, a subsidiary focused on altering the earth’s ecology through energy transition to CO2-negative systems. In addition, she served as CEO and executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia Endowment, the organization that manages Wikipedia.
Climate Tops the Agenda
“Climate is finally on the top of the agenda for boards and governments,” said Ms. Tretikov. “Cervest’s platform serves an immediate and growing need for leaders to factor climate risk into corporate operations, capital allocations and corporate disclosures. Cervest will enable organizations to understand and mitigate these risks, improve their planning, and become more resilient in the face of extreme climate events as leaders across the globe forge a more sustainable future.”
An experienced senior technology executive, engineer, and former CEO, Ms. Tretikov will share her expertise in scaling companies for rapid growth to assist Cervest in bringing its climate intelligence platform and EarthScan product to market. She will join existing Cervest board of directors’ members Mr. Bassi, Dr. Ben Calderhead (chief scientific advisor), Vinoth Jayakumar (partner and fintech practice lead, Draper Esprit), and George Coelho (co-founder, Astanor Ventures).
Powered by Earth Science AI technology, Cervest’s climate intelligence platform combines climate data, machine learning and statistical models to present a unified view of climate risk across millions of global assets. EarthScan, the first product on Cervest’s platform, gives enterprises and governments on-demand access to current, historical, and predictive intelligence on how combined climate risks can impact the individual assets they own or manage.
For Philadelphia-based Hobbs & Towne, climate has been its sole agenda for more than two decades. The firm focuses exclusively on finding leaders for the clean tech, mobility, climate technology, food and agriculture, water, infrastructure, and sustainability markets. Last year the firm enjoyed a 59 percent revenue jump and took first place in the exclusive Hunt Scanlon Media Top 25 rankings as the fastest growing search firm of the year. “This year, Hobbs & Towne is accelerating those growth rates and making good on its promise to be the singular source of talent for climate and sustainability talent,” said Scott A. Scanlon, CEO of Hunt Scanlon Media.
“Since 1997, we have partnered with mission-driven, forward-thinking investors, companies and people who approach decision-making with an ESG framework to drive disruptive solutions that have global impact on climate and sustainability,” said founding partner and CEO Andy Towne. Among the search firm’s notable recent placements: chief science officer of transformational food and beverage company Impossible Foods; chief people officer of Shoals Technologies; chief technology and innovation officer at National Grid; CEO of innovative electricity technology company Smart Wires; board director at CarbonCure; CFO and head of sustainability at Pivot Bio; CFO at Lightning eMotors; CRO at JustGreens/Aerofarms; chief people officers for Gathered Foods and Homeworks Energy; president of government relations at Gevo; and VP global HR at Hazel Technologies
Today, Hobbs & Towne partners with venture capital, private equity, and family office investors, as well as large, global companies across some of the most impactful technology categories, including but not limited to aerospace, agriculture, AI, bio and medical, data science, energy, food, IOT, mobility, robotics, and sustainability. The firm has performed over 2,500 executive searches over the last 20-plus years. It maintains offices in San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and London.
No one was saying it in so many words, but the report that the United Nations Global Compact and Russell Reynolds Associates released last year was aimed at nothing less than helping to save the world. Six years ago, leaders from 193 nations at an historic UN summit adopted 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) that involved everything from eradicating hunger to taking urgent action to overcome climate change. They were big, tough, imposing goals, with a deadline of 2030. With but nine years to go, the world remains far from meeting these objectives.
One big reason that progress is lagging is the contrast between what business leaders say about their commitment to sustainability and what they have actually delivered. For example, a previous study showed that 92 percent of CEOs said they believe integration of sustainability will be important to the future success of their business. Yet only 48 percent of chief executives said they were implementing sustainability in their operations. Only 21 percent of CEOs, meanwhile, said they believe that business is playing a critical role in achieving the SDGs.
Hobbs & Towne has completed searches for the specific roles of chairman, executive chairman, audit chair, CEO, COO, CFO, CTO, CSO, CCO, CMO, chief architect, chief engineer, general counsel and mandates at the EVP, SVP and VP level in technology, engineering, research and development, process development, software development, intellectual property, operations, manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, quality, human resources, finance, accounting, project finance, project development, asset management, development, business development, sales, customer success, marketing, product management, digital and regulatory.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media