An organization working on such a vital mission as RMI’s needs an innovative, game-changing leader. That was a top priority for RMI’s Board of Trustees when it embarked on a global search for a new CEO. The board was looking for someone with broad expertise and a world view, who could advance RMI’s innovative work and deepen its impact. Jules Kortenhorst emerged as the clear choice.
Jules’ background, which spans business, government, entrepreneurial, and nonprofit leadership, positions him as the perfect chief executive officer for achieving RMI’s vision of a clean, prosperous, and secure energy future. Jules made a career choice to become part of the solution for climate change. He was the founding CEO of the European Climate Foundation, which funded and led the development of Roadmap 2050, an analysis of pathways to a low-carbon Europe, with many parallels to RMI’s Reinventing Fire for the United States. Jules has also served as CEO of a Netherlands-based clean technology company Topell Energy, was a country managing director of Royal Dutch Shell Group, and was a Member of the Dutch Parliament. “He’s had a seat at the table of many of the most relevant players,” said RMI Trustee Reuben Munger, “and has spent a lot of time appreciating and executing against the big-picture critical levers to transform the energy system.”
RMI’s strategy to map and drive the U.S. business-led transformation from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables must be market-based. However, markets don’t work in a vacuum. RMI Board Chair Tom Dinwoodie referenced Jules’ diverse background spanning the private sector, politics, and running a non-governmental organization as key ingredients for leading RMI. “We’re trying to spur a market-based transformation, but how that intersects with politics and NGOs is important, and Jules has experience with all those sectors.”
And while the majority of RMI’s activity is U.S.-centric, solving the challenges of our energy system in the midst of climate change, energy insecurity, and other complexities requires global awareness and action. Jules’s global background and connections are valuable attributes he brings to RMI. In the past year RMI launched Reinventing Fire: China, to provide recommendations that can improve China’s overall energy efficiency and increase the adoption of renewable energy. “It’s a global problem we face,” said RMI’s cofounder and Chief Scientist Amory Lovins, “and RMI is looking to make the largest possible impact.” “RMI can take on worldwide significance,” according to Trustee Peter Boyer, “The Reinventing Fire: China initiative, plus Jules coming on as CEO, really speaks to RMI’s global outlook.”
It is also important for RMI to communicate the story of RMI’s work to a broad range of audiences. Jules bolsters our ability to heighten awareness of RMI’s initiatives. “With a partner like Jules taking the CEO role,” said Boyer, “Amory and other technical experts at RMI can find their greatest effectiveness and can speak to people at many different levels.” Trustee Mary Caulkins seconded the opinion that Jules is able to articulate the message about RMI’s solutions-oriented approach in a way that appeals to people at all levels of expertise.
RMI is dedicated to, and passionate about, driving the transition from coal and oil to efficiency and renewables. We’re excited about Jules’ imminent arrival and leadership to ensure RMI’s initiatives have increasing impact. “Jules recognizes that passion for change needs to be translated into targeted activities to unleash the dynamism and power of the market,” Munger stated. “Jules wears this issue on his sleeve because it is what drives him to get up in the morning and work.” At RMI, we all look forward to rolling up our own sleeves, along with Jules, to carry out RMI’s mission more effectively than ever.