SAN DIEGO, July 28, 2014 – Sapphire Energy, Inc., a global leader of algae cultivation technologies, today announced the appointment of biotechnology veteran James Levine as president, CEO and member of the board of directors. Levine replaces Cynthia ‘CJ’ Warner, who is stepping down from her post effective immediately. She will remain chairman of the company’s board of directors.
“The impact of CJ’s leadership on Sapphire Energy’s mission to deliver commercial scale algae-based fuels has been tremendous, from overseeing the build out and commencement of operations at the world’s first algae-to-energy facility in New Mexico to securing key partnerships with some of the world’s top oil and gas refiners,” said Robert Shapiro, a member of Sapphire Energy’s Board of Directors. “We’re very grateful for all that she’s done, and look forward to her continued work with the company as board chairman.”
Levine was formerly president and CEO of Verenium Corp., a NASDAQ-listed industrial biotechnology company that develops commercial-scale enzyme solutions using proprietary and patented technologies for industries worldwide. At Verenium, he fostered and managed the company’s most critical partnerships, including BP, which acquired the company’s cellulosic ethanol unit in 2010, as well as DuPont, Royal DSM, Bunge North America, Cargill, Novus International Inc., Colgate-Palmolive Co. and Tate & Lyle PLC, among others. Each of these partnerships enabled the application of Verenium’s technology in global food, fuels and animal nutrition markets. Later, he led the company through its acquisition by BASF Corp. in late 2013. Prior to Verenium, Levine was a managing director in the global energy group at Goldman Sachs & Co.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we welcome James, who brings an impressive history of growing and positioning an industrial biotechnology company for success on a global scale,” said Robert Nelsen, managing director at ARCH Venture Partners and Sapphire Energy board member. “James is an innovative strategist who understands the process, issues and economics associated with developing and deploying renewable, sustainable energy and chemical solutions from pilot to industrial-level production. His experience will be invaluable as Sapphire Energy moves forward to deliver world-changing solutions through its algae-technology platform.”
About Sapphire Energy
San Diego-based Sapphire Energy is pioneering an entirely new industry – Green Crude production – with the potential to profoundly change America’s energy and petrochemical landscape for the better. Sapphire’s products and processes in this category differ significantly from other forms of biofuel because they are made solely from photosynthetic microorganisms (algae and cyanobacteria), using sunlight and CO2 as their feedstock; are not dependent on food crops or valuable farmland; do not use potable water; do not result in biodiesel or ethanol; enhance and replace petroleum-based products; are compatible with existing infrastructure; and are low carbon, renewable and scalable. Sapphire has an R&D facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and is currently operating the first Integrated Algal BioRefinery in Columbus, New Mexico, continuously since May 1, 2012.