RMI Names New CEO To Gain Momentum on Clean Energy Transition
Jon Creyts’ promotion to chief executive continues long track record of advancing RMI’s mission and growing its impact.
Basalt, CO. October 17, 2022
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RMI (formerly Rocky Mountain Institute) announced today that Jon Creyts will be its next CEO, capping a months-long global search for a leader to steer the 40-year-old independent non-profit at a critical point in the fight to combat catastrophic climate change. Creyts steps into the position on November 1.
Creyts, 52, joined RMI in 2012 and currently serves as RMI’s Chief Program and Strategy Officer, a role in which he oversees teams working to decarbonize buildings, electricity, heavy industry, and mobility both domestically and around the world through market-driven and business-led solutions. Over the past decade, Creyts founded RMI’s China office, launched the climate tech incubator Third Derivative, and spearheaded a shift to focus the institute’s deep energy expertise on solving the climate crisis.
He also helped transform the organization from a Colorado-based group of 50 employees to more than 600 today with a budget exceeding $100 million, diversifying its work and its workforce in the process. A mechanical engineer with a doctorate in thermodynamics, Creyts’ extensive experience and knowledge of RMI will ensure the organization maintains its momentum and effectiveness in this decisive decade for climate change.
“To solve a problem as complex as climate change, we need to find new ways of working collaboratively and globally between governments, corporations, communities, and NGO partners. The only way to successfully respond to this challenge is together,” said Creyts. “I’m excited to help shape and champion RMI’s role in providing the inspiration, the insights, and the practical solutions to meet this urgent moment together in the way we must.”
He takes over as the war in Ukraine is destabilizing energy markets worldwide, fueling inflation, and generating new calls for more fossil fuels, even as climate change intensifies damage from drought, storms, and flooding, from California to Puerto Rico and Pakistan.
“This is the fight of our lives and leading this incredible institution is hard work,” said outgoing CEO Jules Kortenhorst, who led the organization for nearly a decade. “I am absolutely convinced that Jon’s sincere care, his wickedly brilliant brain, his analytical capabilities, and his deep experience in this space — together with his passion for this mission — will make him an incredible leader.”
Creyts first came to know RMI in 1991, when he attended a lecture given by cofounder Amory Lovins at his alma mater, the University of Illinois. Two decades later, Creyts would travel to Colorado to meet Lovins and take on his first assignment at RMI, a project known as Reinventing Fire: China. In just a few years, the findings of that work began to reshape China’s climate policy by showing it could grow economically but still cap emissions through renewables and energy efficiency.
“Jon Creyts is a marvelous choice to carry on RMI’s leadership: strategic, design-minded, entrepreneurial, bold, disciplined, deeply knowledgeable across the full range of our work, and universally admired for his sterling personal and professional quality,” said Lovins.
Creyts became Chief Program and Strategy Officer in early 2021, and in that role has championed RMI’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts widely, increasing racial diversity across all levels of the organization. It will continue to be one of his top priorities as CEO.
“I am thrilled to welcome Jon into the role of CEO of RMI. Jon not only has tenacity, creativity and passion, but also the empathy and wise humility required to inspire and lead RMI’s global team in its mission to transform the global energy system,” said Elizabeth Sall, founder and president of UrbanLabs LLC and chair of the People Committee on RMI’s Board of Trustees.
Creyts’ selection came after a board search committee worked with an executive search firm that assessed more than 250 candidates from across the globe. Eight candidates with diverse backgrounds were interviewed by the seven-person search committee and three made the final round. Ultimately, the committee unanimously recommended Creyts and the RMI Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint him CEO.
“We enthusiastically recommended Jon Creyts to the RMI Board of Trustees as the most outstanding candidate to become our next CEO,” said trustee Dennis V. McGinn, chair of the search committee, and former Assistant Secretary to the Navy. “He is an extraordinary leader who will accelerate and expand the tremendous impact RMI is making in the global energy transition.”
“RMI is fortunate that Jon Creyts will be taking the helm to lead RMI,” said Ted White, chairman of RMI’s Board of Trustees. “Jon has been a strategic and visionary leader for the past decade. As CEO, he will ensure that RMI continues to have the greatest possible impact in its ongoing efforts to secure a prosperous, zero-carbon future.”
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RMI is an independent nonprofit founded in 1982 that transforms global energy systems through market-driven solutions to align with a 1.5°C future and to secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. We work in the world’s most critical geographies and engage businesses, policymakers, communities, and NGOs to identify and scale energy system interventions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent by 2030. RMI has offices in: Basalt and Boulder, Colo.; New York City; Oakland, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.
For more on RMI, go to rmi.org or follow us on Twitter @RockyMtnInst.