A veteran of Virgin’s green investment fund, Shai Weiss will now be in charge of Virgin’s finances.
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Shai Weiss will be joining Virgin Atlantic’s management. He will officially assume the position of chief financial officer on July 7th.
Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger made the announcement about the current chairman of the Virgin Green investment fund, which Weiss helped found in 2007. In that role Weiss also serves on the boards of a number of Virgin Group portfolio companies including Virgin Atlantic.
Kreeger said of the appointment, “As we continue to make strong progress against our plans for profitability, I am delighted to appoint Shai as our CFO. As Shai has been an active member of the Virgin Atlantic Board since the summer of 2012, he has significant knowledge of our business and is well positioned to take on this critical role.”
Virgin Green Fund I, L.P. was formed to by Virgin owner Richard Branson to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels. It has raised more than $200 million, including a $100m injection from Sir Richard Branson himself to invest in renewable energy technology and energy efficiency sectors.
Weiss is proud of the work that he has done while at Virgin Green. “People forget that managing the way you consume energy is a fundamental way of seeing quicker returns on your investment. Buildings consume around 40 per cent of the energy in large cities. Within buildings, approximately 35 per cent goes on lighting and 35 per cent on heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). So if you can find more efficient ways to manage these resources and reduce consumption, paybacks can be very attractive, ” he said.
“Within the green energy and renewables sector, we are financially driven. One of our companies, Seven Seas Water, builds, owns and operates desalination services in the Caribbean. Resorts there are judged on the quality of hospitality and not on the water they supply. Hence, we take on this responsibility and provide water as a service to the resorts: the company takes no technology risk and provides great returns.”
Weiss has been successfully investing in the renewable energy and resource efficiency sectors since 2006, and has extensive operational and financial expertise gained in a number of senior executive roles with businesses operating in the media and cable industries. He currently serves on the Boards of VGF I portfolio companies Gevo, GreenRoad Technologies and Metrolight.
Prior to VGF, Weiss was with NTLTelewest (now known as Virgin Media), the UK’s and Europe’s largest cable operator. He was also behind the merger between Virgin Mobile UK and NTLTelewest and the re-brand to Virgin Media. At NTL he was Managing Director of Consumer Products, responsible for the development and delivery of Internet, telephone and TV for the consumer division and also the Integration Director for the merger between NTL and Telewest.
Prior to NTL, Weiss established the European office of Jerusalem Venture Partners and was a member of Morgan Stanley’s hi-tech mergers, acquisitions and corporate finance teams.
Shai Weiss has an MBA from Columbia University in New York and a B.B.A. from City University of New York, Baruch College in business and finance.
Established in 1984, Virgin Atlantic, a trading name of Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited, is a British airline which is majority owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.