Rivertop Renewables Appoints Michael J. Knauf as Chief Executive Officer


(October 10, 2012) MISSOULA, Mont. — Rivertop Renewables, a Montana-based renewable chemicals company, today announced Michael J. Knauf as Chief Executive Officer. Knauf is a 30-year veteran of the bioindustrial industry, having held executive level positions with leading providers including Genencor and Codexis. His career has been defined by creating, structuring and managing a multi-hundred million dollar partnership, negotiating collaborations, integrating acquisitions, and driving sales of biobased materials.

“Mike is a strong leader with successful go-to-market experience in the renewable chemicals markets,” said Jere Kolstad, President of Rivertop Renewables. “He has a proven ability to bring technologies to market through strategic product and application development, commercialization, partnerships and customer acquisition. We’re thrilled to have him on board.”

Knauf led the team that built the bioindustrials unit at Codexis from the ground up, including staffing the business and starting up a major lab in Hungary. He led the development of a number of innovative strategies, technologies, products, and markets for biofuels, biobased chemicals and carbon capture. He and his team secured Codexis’ partnerships with Shell, Alstom, and Alcoa that accounted for annual contract revenue in excess of $70 million. At Genencor, Knauf played strategic M&A business roles in acquiring and integrating several players that bolstered the company’s leadership in the global industrial enzyme market. 

“I see an incredible opportunity to build on Rivertop’s great foundation of breakthrough technology and initial customer contacts and partners. The company is poised to address multiple billion dollar markets,” said Knauf. “All the pieces are there and I’m looking forward to working with the team to put them in place and profitably bring our safe, sustainable, and renewable chemicals into the marketplace.”

Knauf’s appointment comes at a time of significant growth for Rivertop. Earlier this year, the company commenced contract manufacturing with DTI (www.danchemtechnology.com), to demonstrate process scale-up and fulfill commercial contracts for Rivertop’s biobased corrosion inhibitors. Rivertop has launched product into the detergent market, is currently completing a multi-million dollar expansion of its research and development laboratories, and will design, build, and operate a semi-works facility co-located at its headquarters in Missoula. 

“Mike joining our team is an incredible validation of not only the strength of our technology, but the size of the market opportunity,” said Don Kiely, Ph.D., founder of Rivertop Renewables. 

About Rivertop Renewables
Based in Missoula, Montana, Rivertop Renewables is innovating a new category of science – Progressive Chemistry. Merging proven science with renewable resources, Rivertop Renewables is creating an abundant and economical supply of sustainable, biodegradable and non-toxic chemicals and bioproducts derived from renewable plant sugars.

Media Contact:
John Williams
Scoville PR for Rivertop
(206) 625-0075 x1, [email protected]