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Obama picks ex-venture capitalist

By Erin Ailworth
July 29, 2011

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President Obama yesterday nominated a former Boston venture capitalist as assistant Energy secretary, overseeing alternative energy and energy-efficiency programs.

David Danielson, who holds a doctoral degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, cofounded the clean-energy investment practice at General Catalyst Partners, leaving the Boston venture capital firm to join the Energy Department in 2009 as program director of Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, known as ARPA-E. He was also a cofounder of the New England Clean Energy Council, a trade group.

Peter Rothstein, president of the Clean Energy Council, said Danielson has the skills to help advance new technologies.

“He’s got a good cross-section of technical depth,’’ Rothstein said, “but also understanding what it means to start up new companies and try to break into new markets.’’

Obama also nominated a former General Electric executive, Dot Harris, to be the energy department’s director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact.