February 10, 2021 – Executive search firm Hobbs & Towne has recruited renewable energy and power industry veteran Peter Wells as the new CEO of Smart Wires in Union City, CA. The company is backed by 3×5 Partners and Lime Rock New Energy. Founding partner and CEO Andy Towne and vice president Tom Watchko led the assignment. “We are thrilled to have Peter Wells joining Smart Wires at this important time for the company,” said Tom Voss, chairman of Smart Wires. “Smart Wires has built significant global momentum and is well positioned for continued growth with its SmartValve product line. Peter’s deep experience and relationships in the power industry, understanding of renewable energy drivers, customer needs, broad experience, and results make Peter the ideal leader for Smart Wires,” he said. “In short, Peter is an incredibly skilled executive whose global power industry experience positions him well to lead Smart Wires through our next phase of growth.”
Mr. Wells brings over three decades of global leadership experience in energy and renewable energy, spanning projects, products and services, and manufacturing. He comes to Smart Wires from GE Renewable Energy, where he served as CEO, Onshore Wind for Europe and Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) region. During his tenure, GE went from sixth to third in the market, doubling its volume and market reach. Before that, Mr. Wells was SVP and COO for services and projects for Vestas Americas. he joined Vestas in 2015 when Vestas acquired UpWind Solutions. During his tenure as CEO of UpWind Solutions, Mr. Wells grew the business 10-fold to more than 3.5 gigawatt of generating capacity under a long-term contract.
“I am excited to be joining Smart Wires at this important juncture in the company’s growth, and by the tremendous opportunity in front of the company,” Mr. Wells said. “I have spent a large part of my career in renewable energy, and the transmission capacity constraints of our aging electric grids globally is a key bottleneck we must unlock to achieve rapid, widespread decarbonization. The potential for impact is larger here than anywhere else in the electric sector.”
Smart Wires develops and implements technologies that advance the delivery of electricity. With its next generation SmartValve technology, alongside our advanced analytics and consulting services, we are built to assist utilities solve problems and evolve the grid. Smart Wires also has European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, and a global workforce.
Founded in 1997, Hobbs & Towne is an executive search and advisory services firm. Partnering with venture capital, private equity and family office investors, as well as large, global companies, the firm has recruited 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. Hobbs & Towne has performed over 2,500 executive searches over the last 20-plus years. The firm has offices in San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and London.
Hobbs & Towne’s advisory practice was launched in 2016, with services including M&A advisory; leadership assessment and executive coaching; interim management; restructuring advisory; capital raise advisory; and diversity, equity, and inclusion advisory.
Executive search firm Hobbs & Towne has assisted in the placement of Vanderbilt University biochemistry department chair John D. York as chief science officer at Impossible Foods. CEO Andy Towne led the assignment along with partner Ryan Houder for the search firm.
Dr. York, whose first day at Impossible Foods will be Jan. 4, will serve on the senior leadership team and oversee research and development, and product innovation. He will report directly to CEO and founder Patrick O. Brown. Under Dr. York’s leadership, Impossible Foods will continue to build its food technology platform and expand basic research capabilities to accelerate next-generation products. “Throughout his career, John has contributed to discoveries in biochemistry thanks to his curiosity and risk tolerance,” said Dr. Brown, a Stanford University professor emeritus.
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.
Mr. Towne specializes broadly across sustainability, cleantech and climatetech, with an emphasis on agriculture, aquaculture, energy, food science, fund management, IOT and mobility. He has helped companies in sustainability, including Impossible Foods, Apeel Sciences, Eat Just, Taxon BioSciences, Open Blue and Vertiv, as well as emerging companies, such as Good Catch, Loliware and Ripple Foods. Mr. Towne has personally completed over 500 executive searches, including over 150 of the firm’s 300+ CEO searches. He performs investment professional searches and key leadership searches for companies, including CEO, chairman, board director and other C-level assignments roles.
Mr. Watchko has spent the last 20 years immersed in the fields of human capital, executive search and recruiting. He has founded and managed multiple start-ups in industries spanning from retail operations to information technology consulting. Additionally, Mr. Watchko has contributed to the buildouts of numerous companies in the energy, sustainability and information technology market sectors. He has worked closely with multiple private equity and venture capital organizations such as Artiman Ventures, Oaktree Capital, Pegasus Capital Advisors, Claremont Creek Ventures and EnerTech Capital on key hires at the VP, C-suite and board levels.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media