RMI selects new CEO | AspenTimes.com

RMI selects new CEO

Joel StoningtonAspen, CO Colorado
Michael Potts

SNOWMASS – Michael Potts has been named CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute while former CEO Amory B. Lovins takes the role of chairman and chief scientist.RMI announced the search for a new CEO in November, after Lovins decided to spent less time on administrating the non-profit and more time focused on the big ideas. “Amory is in huge demand as a speaker and strategic advisor,” said Potts, during his first day on the job. “The paradox is that the institution is growing very quickly and needs a lot of attention. My background is all about growing high-technology companies. I’m focusing on running this place. Amory will be collaborating with me on the strategy but will really be a thought leader.”

Potts, a board member of RMI for the last year and a half, gets excited when talking about the mission and future of RMI. His past experience running fast-growing, high-technology companies fits well into where he sees RMI going. “I’m just excited about this opportunity to use my business skills and contacts to create a better world for the next generation,” Potts said. “if the second half of the 20th century was about the information revolution. The first half of the 21st is going to be about the energy revolution where transportation, moving goods, heating, lighting will have to be re-thought for the new society.”After Potts graduated from Benoit College, in Wisconsin, with a degree in creative writing, he went to work for IBM. He worked in various software and technology companies until he took the helm at American Fundware in 1997. From that time until he sold the company in 2002, Potts said he tripled the size of the Fundware.

“After I sold my software company I decided to spend more time helping the community,” Potts said. “I joined a number of non-profit boards and RMI was one of them.”RMI has seen rapid growth in recent years as more of Lovins ideas became mainstream. Two major clients of the non-profit in the last few years have been the U.S. Military and Wal-Mart. Lovins, an acclaimed scientist, researcher and author, co-founded the “think and do tank” in 1982. Over the years, RMI gained an international reputation as a valued consultant to corporate and government clients just as Lovins became a sought-after adviser to everyone from the captains of industry to heads of state around the world.

“The convergence of costly oil, global tensions, climate change, and political polarization makes RMI’s nonpartisan and systemic approach even more needed and effective,” said Lovins, in a prepared statement. “Michael’s stellar business track record, commitment to RMI’s mission, and his extensive experience in the non-profit arena make him uniquely qualified to lead this next critical phase in our mission.”Potts will split his time between RMI’s Boulder office and the headquarters in Old Snowmass. He said it will likely be two weeks in each place out of every month. He said a 14-year-old daughter in Denver keeps him rooted there. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com