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Bruce Nilles, Ting Li and Richenda Van Leeuwen Join Rocky Mountain Institute’s Leadership

BOULDER, CO, May 02, 2019Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) is pleased to announce the addition of Bruce Nilles, Ting Li and Richenda Van Leeuwen to its senior leadership team as managing directors.

Nilles joined RMI in August 2018 as a senior fellow after building and leading the “Beyond Coal” campaign at the Sierra Club. Since joining RMI, Nilles has worked alongside other institute leaders to support existing electricity and building initiatives, leveraging his experience and expertise in both reducing the US coal fleet and tackling the complex issue of driving the use of natural gas out of the buildings sector. Going forward, Nilles will lead RMI’s new Building Electrification Program and Coal End Game Initiative, which will tackle the last US coal plants and coal plants globally.

“I could not be more thrilled to be working with such a terrific and high-caliber group of colleagues on the defining issue of our time,” said Nilles. “I am extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to now help lead this organization and support more of our partners around the globe working to accelerate a zero-carbon future.”

Li joined RMI in 2014 as its first in-country employee in Beijing. She has served as RMI’s chief representative in China and has been involved in several important in-country initiatives. As regional managing director, Li will continue to provide leadership for RMI’s China Program and office on legal structure, risk management, fundraising and business development. She will also be responsible for further integrating and connecting RMI’s China Program to its global programs.

“It is a great pleasure to work with RMI’s passionate, diligent and inquisitive professionals. I am thrilled to work with the team to contribute to a cleaner, safer and better world,” said Li. “It is also exciting to see our bold market-driven approach playing an important role in supporting China in its energy revolution efforts and low-carbon green development.”

Van Leeuwen joined RMI on May 1, 2019. She is a global executive with over 25 years of international executive management experience. Van Leeuwen founded and led the United Nations Foundation’s (UNF’s) work on energy access and its engagement with the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All initiative. A globally recognized expert on energy access, she built the UNF’s Energy Access Practitioner Network—a network of enterprises delivering clean power solutions to developing countries. Van Leeuwen will lead RMI’s newest program, Empowering Clean Economies, which combines the institute’s Sustainable Energy for Economic Development Program work in sub-Saharan African and Islands Energy Program work in the Caribbean.

“I am delighted to be joining a stellar team at RMI to work together in support of the urgently needed global transition to a lower carbon economy, and to also be supporting sustainable economic development, especially for those lacking access to energy,” said Van Leeuwen.

“Our commitment to both finding great talent externally and promoting great talent internally has come to fruition after a lengthy and diligent process,” said RMI CEO Jules Kortenhorst.


About Rocky Mountain Institute

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)—an independent nonprofit founded in 1982—transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. It engages businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.

More information on RMI can be found at or follow us on Twitter @RockyMtnInst.

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