Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today that Matt Petersen — the City’s first- ever Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) — will exit the post after four years of service. He will be succeeded by Deputy CSO Lauren Faber O’Connor. Petersen is leaving the Garcetti Administration to become the next President and CEO of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI).
Mayor Garcetti created the position of CSO and appointed Petersen to the post in 2013. Petersen’s successful tenure has helped reframe the City’s long-term goals to make L.A. the most sustainable city in America. Most notably, he led the development of Los Angeles’ first Sustainable City pLAn — a comprehensive roadmap that lays out measurable long-term goals for efforts like conserving water, creating green jobs, expanding the use of electric vehicles, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Matt Petersen has brought every ounce of his vision, passion, and experience as a national environmental leader to his role as our Chief Sustainability Officer,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Matt’s work on my Sustainable City pLAn has helped us show the world the limitless power that cities can wield to combat climate change, advance clean technology, and create a more sustainable world. I know his creativity and entrepreneurial spirit will take LACI to new heights, and make its efforts more important than ever to the future of our economy."
In addition to being the architect of L.A.’s Sustainable City pLAn, Petersen helped create Climate Mayors — which recently organized a response to President Trump by mayors adopting the Paris Agreement. Over 250 mayors have signed on so far, giving cities a powerful voice and bringing additional leadership in the fight against climate change. Prior to joining the Garcetti Administration, Petersen led Global Green USA, an internationally-renowned nonprofit. In his new role, Petersen will lead LACI, and focus his work on helping innovative green businesses grow into thriving companies that can create the jobs of the 21st Century clean energy economy.
“I am excited for the opportunity to lead LACI, and work alongside some incredible entrepreneurs who are unlocking the innovation, technology, and partnerships we need to fight climate change and grow a green economy that works for everyone,” Petersen said. “It has been an honor to serve Mayor Garcetti and the residents of this great city by creating and advancing the pLAn, but the real credit goes to the people of this city — along with the men and women who work for L.A. — that have moved the needle on green jobs, environmental justice, and much more.”
Deputy CSO Lauren Faber O’Connor, who will succeed Petersen as the City’s next CSO, joined the Garcetti Administration in 2015 from Environmental Defense Fund — where she served as West Coast Political Director and helped win support for innovative approaches to protecting the environment, and promoting clean energy and water conservation.
“There’s never been a more critical time for our city to lead the march toward a more sustainable future — and I know Lauren is up to the challenge,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Lauren is a proven champion for the environment, who is prepared to lead my sustainability agenda forward with creativity and determination.”
Faber O’Connor will start her new position on July 1.
Petersen will remain an advisor to Mayor Garcetti as chair of the Climate Mayors advisory board as the peer-to-peer network grows across the U.S., and as a member of the LA Sustainability Leadership Council to help advance key pLAn priorities, including moving toward electrification of transportation and zero emissions goods movement.