Energy Recovery CEO Bob Mao leaves

  • After less than four years in the position
  • Thanks for Mao
  • David Moon taking over temporarily
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — San Leandro, California, October 24, 2023 — Bob Mao, chief executive of Energy Recovery, leaves his position. As announced by Energy Recovery Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, Robert Yu Lang (Bob) Mao has left his post as chief executive officer at the specialist in energy efficiency technology, after less than four years in the role, effective October 23, 2023.

Generally speaking, it raises questions when a CEO leaves his post abruptly.

Energy Recovery will undertake a search for a successor.

Bob Mao’s duties as CEO will be taken over temporarily by David Moon, most recently President at Carrier Commercial Refrigeration, as interim Chief Executive Officer.

Already a director

Moon has already been a member of the board of directors of Energy Recovery. Generally speaking, most director-turned-CEO appointments occur following a sudden resignation of the outgoing CEO and signal a lack of preparedness on the company’s part to groom internal talent. Directors-turned-executives represent a blend of outsider and insider.

They don’t have the constraints of a pure insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions, and they have more company knowledge than a pure outsider.

Having been a director, Moon understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of Energy Recovery’s organization, risk-management practices and strategy.

“Changing needs”

Energy Recovery did not give an explicit reason for Bob Mao’s departure from the CEO post. Pamela Tondreau, current Lead Independent Director, who has been elected as the new Chairperson of the Board, stated: “This change in leadership reflects the company’s changing needs as we progress into our next phase of growth, scaling the commercialization of our offerings in refrigeration and wastewater treatment.”

Precise information regarding Bob Mao’s future plans was not immediately available.


Energy Recovery said: “On October 23, 2023, Robert Yu Lang Mao, President and Chief Executive Officer, departed as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective October 23, 2023. Mr. Mao will remain on the Board but will no longer be serving as Chairman of the Board.”

Share price decline since October 2022

The announcement follows a decline in Energy Recovery Inc.’s share price of 18% since October 2022.

In the position of CEO since 2019

Bob Mao became CEO of the Company in 2019.

Bob Mao will remain a member of the Board, and Pamela Tondreau, current Lead Independent Director, has been elected as the new Chairperson of the Board.

Robert Yu Lang Mao was appointed Chairman of the Board in March 2019.

Mao was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer in May 2020 and Interim President and Chief Executive Officer in November 2019.

Mao has more than thirty years of executive experience in the technology and telecommunications industries across Asia, the United States, and Europe.

Mao previously served as a Board Director of Hon Hai Precision Ind. Co. Ltd (Foxconn) during 2018 to 2019, the world’s largest contract manufacturer supplying high tech products to world leading companies including Apple, Amazon, Dell, Microsoft, and Hewlett-Packard Company (Hewlett-Packard).

Foxconn is a public company listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

He serves on the Board of Directors of privately held Ubee Interactive Corporation, a supplier of broadband access equipment and devices to multimedia and telecom service providers worldwide.

In 2013 Mao was named Chairman, China Region for Hewlett-Packard Company (Hewlett-Packard).

He retired from Hewlett-Packard in 2016.

Mao served as CEO of 3Com Corporation (3Com) from 2008 to 2010 and completed the sale of 3Com to Hewlett-Packard in 2010.

Mao was also a Board Director of 3Com from 2007 to 2010.

3Com was a NASDAQ listed S&P 500 company providing computer networking and security solutions and products to public and private enterprises worldwide.

Prior to 3Com Corporation, he worked for Nortel Networks, a broad-based communications technology company, as CEO of the company’s Greater China operations from 1997 to 2006.

Before joining Nortel, he was regional president of the Greater China region for Alcatel-Lucent from 1995 to 1997.

He also held executive positions at Alcatel and ITT in Asia and the United States.

No statement by Bob Mao

In the release announcing his departure as CEO of Energy Recovery Inc., Bob Mao received thanks.

The announcement of his departure as CEO does not include a statement by Bob Mao.

Push-out Score for Bob Mao’s move determined

The Push-out Score indicates on a scale of 0 to 10 how likely it is that Bob Mao was pushed out or felt pressure to leave his position.

exechange reached out to Energy Recovery and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 44.2023 ($).