DETROIT — NextEnergy Monday announced a succession on its board of directors: previous vice chairman Robert Buckler succeeds Christopher Rizik as chairman, and Maria Thompson succeeds Buckler as vice chairman.

NextEnergy’s outgoing chairman, Rizik, is the CEO of Renaissance Venture Capital Fund and Co-Founder of Ardesta. Rizik, who has served as nextEnergy’s Chairman since 2006, will remain as a member of the board.

NextEnergy’s new chairman, Buckler, is the retired President and COO of Detroit Edison, the largest business unit of DTE Energy. During the majority of 2010 he was the COO of the City of Detroit, working for Mayor Dave Bing. He is a member of numerous business and nonprofit boards and has been a member of NextEnergy’s board since 2005.

NextEnergy’s new Vice Chairman, Maria Thompson, was the co-founder, president and CEO of T/J Technologies Inc., a lithium-ion battery and alternative-energy technology company that was acquired in 2006 by A123 Systems. She also serves as a member of numerous business and nonprofit boards including on NextEnergy’s board since 2010.

Rizik said the succession “meets our longstanding goal of ensuring continuity in our leadership and engaging the board’s strength and breadth of experience to support the company as the advanced-energy innovation hub for the state of Michigan. Bob and Maria are ideal leaders for our board as we continue our growth as an organization.”

Other members serving on NextEnergy’s Board are: Michael A. Boulus, executive director of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan; Richard D. DiBartolomeo, retired principal of the Rehmann Group; George W. Jackson, Jr., president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.; Steven E. Kurmas, president and COO of Detroit Edison; and Ned Staebler, vice president of economic development at Wayne State University.

NextEnergy was founded in 2002 and is based in TechTown, Wayne State University’s tech business park. It offers advanced energy companies incubator and meeting space.


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