Mar 23 2011
Ahead of releasing our whitepaper offering an outlook for the Energy sector, we interviewed AESC executive search consultant and clean energy specialist, John Ryan - co-founder of executive search firm RSMR and Transearch Global Practice Leader for renewable energy and clean tech.
Learn which forms of clean energy are the most promising, what executive recruiters look for in candidates and how the rise of clean energy is important to senior executives in industries across the board:
BlueSteps: Which forms of clean energy are looking to be the most successful / valuable in the next five years and why?
John Ryan: A lot of very knowledgeable power executives point to solar as having the biggest potential for growth. Solar has broad applications, ranging from 70 megawatt PV solar projects like Rovito, and large solar-thermal projects like those being championed by BrightSource and SolarReserve, but also including rooftop solar, other forms of distributed generation and smaller systems which include residential. Wind, though quite successful over the last seven years, has some constraints with respect to siting.
Are there executive positions in the energy sector for those with business, not scientific backgrounds?
So I’d say there are job opportunities for non-power executives to join, for example, renewable energy sectors. There is a strong interest in individuals with strong commercial experience, manufacturing experience and also financial management. Many clean energy companies go through massive growth spurts and clearly the majority of those hired are from outside the space. These companies are interested in executive candidates who have done research, have some compensation flexibility, and most importantly, can point to the value they have created for past employers. Some clean energy companies look at tech / tel talent strongly because those folks have had experience scaling up a business and competing for market share.
Are there any key profile traits for your top energy executive hires?
I’m always looking for A players. I’m always interesting in those individuals who see job responsibilities as something to exceed, not just to meet. Candidates who are strong communicators and show promotional upside, are very interesting. What I mean by that is we seek individuals who have the clear potential to be promoted 2+ levels in growing companies. Our clients are also always interested in entrepreneurial individuals who can ably join a capital-backed business and mesh their personal drive with the corporate goals. I also look for those folks who can work in non-baby boomer like, flatter organizations. Modern companies have taken on the look and feel of smart villages and towns. Strong people and influence skills are a must.
How can concepts of clean, renewable energy apply to every executive position outside of the clean energy industry?
A common message in the clean energy community is “people, planet, profits.” Valuing all three should a given for all companies. Most of those who moved over into green power, building, manufacturing etc., cite to me that their personal desire of working in a company and an industry that is good for the planet is what fueled their job change. The three P’s spur product innovation that is truly breathtaking. Most Americans would like to see the United States significantly increase the amount of clean energy production, and would like to take part. When you look across all industries, you can find many clear examples of how companies are moving forward to develop cleaner, long-term solutions for our global community.
John co-leads RSMR, which he co-founded in 1997. Since 1989, he has been working with renewable energy companies, power utilities, equity funds, investment banks, manufacturers and commercial real estate companies. He has lead numerous C-suite and executive level searches.
RSMR joined TRANSEARCH in 2010, and in 2011 John became the global practice leader for renewable energy and clean tech. He advises 300 partners in 35 countries who are active in solar, wind, smart energy and other segments.
This article was written by Christian Pielow from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).
BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 6,000 executive search professionals in over 70 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 50,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more at www.BlueSteps.com.