James Connaughton is the president and CEO of Nautilus Data Technologies, a company dedicated to delivering more sustainable data center infrastructure. He previously served as executive leadership with C3 Energy, Exelon Corporation, and Constellation Energy, but is most well known for his service as Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) from 2001-2009. In this capacity, he served on President Bush’s Senior Staff as senior environment, energy and natural resources advisor, and as Director of the White House Office of Environmental Policy. Mr. Connaughton helped develop and carry out major energy and environmental policy initiatives, coordinated interagency implementation of environment and natural resource programs, and mediated key policy disagreements among Federal agencies, state, tribal and local governments and private citizens.
A major component of Mr. Connaughton’s policy and management portfolio involved the development and implementation of a comprehensive national ocean policy. Mr. Connaughton worked closely with the Presidentially-appointed U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. Following the publication of the Commission’s recommendations in the fall of 2004, President Bush designated Mr. Connaughton chairman of a new Cabinet Committee on Ocean Policy tasked with ensuring prompt and effective action on the Commission’s recommendations. In this role, Mr. Connaughton oversaw the development of the U.S. Ocean Action Plan, which contained more than 80 high-level actions that the Executive Branch would undertake over a three-year period.
Mr. Connaughton played an instrumental role in President Bush’s historic decisions to establish four new Marine National Monuments in the Pacific, protecting 330,000 square miles of coral and marine habitat, including, at the time, the largest area of ocean conservation in the world. These include: the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands; the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument in the area of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands; the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument in the area of American Samoa; and the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
Mr. Connaughton is a graduate of Yale University and graduated second in his class, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from the Northwestern University School of Law.