James Connaughton

James Connaughton

CEO

James Connaughton, CEO at Nautilus, discusses how his firm has revolutionised the data center industry...

James Connaughton is the CEO at Nautilus. He began his career as a Partner at Sidley Austin focusing on energy, natural resources and environment, energy and environmental management and compliance assurance systems. “I had a passion for industrial sustainability and spent the majority of that time negotiating the ISO 14000 international environmental management standards and then going around the world implementing the standards at facilities large and small,” he explains. “I’ve had the privilege of setting up energy, environment, and natural resource management systems in every setting you can imagine, from petrochemical facilities, auto assembly plants, and tire factories, to big mining operations, ball-bearing plants, and telecommunications equipment manufacturing facilities. I helped a lot of organizations more effectively assure their compliance with law and regulation and then move beyond compliance into continual improvement of their environmental footprint.”

He then moved on to serve as Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush. Roles followed at clean energy companies Constellation Energy and Exelon, and big data analytics company C3.ai, before moving into his current role at Nautilus. During his career, Connaughton has learned several key lessons about leadership. “Effective leadership is pulling together great teams, setting clear objectives, and then helping people create and execute,” he explains. “It’s about creating an environment where they can succeed around shared objectives. It requires continuously looking over the near-time to the long-term horizon so that you are staying current and looking forward instead of backwards. It also requires a good sense of how you, your team, and your business are making a positive contribution to society and our natural environment.”

“I’ve been very fortunate to work with relatively small teams on very big playing fields. When I was working in the U.S. Government, we had a small group of professionals inside of the White House, whose activities expanded out to the cabinet departments and agencies, the US Congress, the states, and then out into the rest of the world. Everything accomplishment is the result mobilising consensus among a broad range of stakeholders—often numbering in the thousands and in some cases millions. I’ve been very fortunate to work with others in that dynamic. Success depends on bringing people with many different viewpoints to a shared goal, which in turn requires keeping everyone in good spirits and driving forward.”

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