Former leaders of Cummins, Rolls-Royce, BP America join Avina advisory board

Avina Clean Hydrogen on Tuesday announced it added Tom Linebarger, former CEO of Cummins; Susan Dio, former chairman and president of BP America; and Warren East, former CEO of Rolls-Royce, to the Avina advisory board. The group will help shape and guide the Short Hills-based firm’s strategic initiatives, as well as advise on how best to leverage hydrogen to address decarbonization challenges of hard-to-abate sectors.

Adding this distinguished team to the board strengthens Avina’s ability to develop solutions for customers that are looking to use green hydrogen as an accelerator of energy transition.

“We are so grateful that a highly esteemed group of leaders have agreed to serve as our inaugural advisory board and have chosen Avina as a platform to drive meaningful decarbonization in hard-to-abate sectors,” Vishal Shah, founder and CEO of Avina Clean Hydrogen, said. “Now, more than ever before, green hydrogen has a meaningful role to play as a climate solution in multiple industries, and each leader brings a unique expertise and perspective from their respective backgrounds, which will be crucial in addressing the needs of a diverse portfolio of industries and end customers.”

Linebarger is executive chairman of Cummins, a global technology leader in engines, filtration and power generation products, and was the CEO for more than 10 years until he stepped down in August 2022. As CEO, Linebarger refocused the company, positioning it to be a leader in zero- and low-carbon solutions. Under his leadership, Cummins developed Destination Zero, the company’s strategy to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Currently, Linebarger is the co-chair of the Hydrogen Council, a global CEO-led coalition working to accelerate the energy transition through hydrogen. The Hydrogen Council includes CEOs from over 300 companies in sectors including automotive, gas, utility and technology companies.

“There are few executives in the world who share Tom’s wealth of experience in driving legacy sectors to adopt zero- and low-carbon solutions,” Shah stated. “We are fortunate to have a leader with his background to embrace and champion Avina’s mission to accelerate the energy transition in hard-to-decarbonize sectors by bringing solutions to deploy green hydrogen at scale.”

Dio is a proven executive with 25-plus years’ experience in international refining, petrochemicals and oil and gas. Prior to her retirement in 2020, Dio was chairman and president of BP America, where she had responsibility for all BP businesses in the U.S. In addition, she worked with policymakers, partnerships and trade associations on trade, and energy policy, as well as navigating the energy transition toward a low-carbon future. As chairman of the BP America board, she focused on setting strategic direction and oversight of material risk across the 350 U.S. subsidiaries. Between 2015 and 2018, Dio was CEO of BP Shipping, which managed the fleet of BP-operated and chartered vessels that moved over 200 million tons of products around the globe each year. As CEO, she reset the organization’s strategy and operations and modernized the company’s fleet, delivering 26 new, highly efficient tankers. Other roles Dio held at BP include head of audit for refining and marketing and managing director of a refinery in Australia.

“Susan’s leadership and expertise, especially in the oil & gas sector, will be invaluable as we continue our conversations with leading executives who recognize the importance of hydrogen in solving the toughest decarbonization challenges in the energy sector,” Shah said.

East retired as the CEO of Rolls-Royce in December 2022. He initially joined the company as a board member in 2014 after retiring as the CEO of semiconductor company ARM and stepped into the CEO role in 2015. Rolls-Royce manufactures aircraft engines as well as engines for boats, trains, large land vehicles and nuclear submarine reactors. As CEO, East pushed to modernize the company and to embrace sustainability. He committed to becoming a net-zero carbon company by 2050, and, with the future of the business in mind, invested money in research & development around new aero engine design and in nuclear power, and established a sustainable solutions business in the Power Systems division, to develop microgrid solutions including hydrogen electrolyzers and fuel cells. The company created a new business to focus on electrical aviation and broke the world record for the fastest electric flight. Recently, Rolls-Royce demonstrated a gas turbine aero engine running on 100% hydrogen and, in the meantime, is also enabling all its aero engines to run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel as well as working across the industry to establish the SAF ecosystem.

“Warren’s extraordinary legacy of trailblazing leadership in technology and aviation sectors will be very valuable to Avina’s continued growth,” Steven Berkenfeld, board member of Avina, said. “We are excited for Warren to share his unique perspectives with our team as we continue to deploy green hydrogen and ammonia solutions in new sectors.”