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Sapphire Energy names Thomas Willardson as CFO

San Diego-based Sapphire Energy Inc., a producer of algae-based green crude oil, named Thomas Willardson as chief financial officer. He will oversee financial planning, accounting, insurance, legal matters and investor relations.

Willardson brings more than 30 years of experience in leading financial initiatives for public and privately held companies. Most recently, Willardson served as CFO at Aurora Algae, a producer of algae-based products for the pharmaceutical, nutrition, aquaculture and fuels markets.

Before that, he was CFO at Energy Recovery Inc., a developer of energy recovery devices for desalination and other industrial processes, where he led the company's successful IPO initiative. At Cost Plus Inc., the specialty retail store chain, Willardson served as executive vice president and CFO, overseeing all companywide financial initiatives, including a significant restructuring of the company's bank credit lines.

As CFO at software company Visual Sciences, formerly WebSideStory, Willardson helped lead the company through an aggressive growth period of more than 40 percent annually and oversaw its subsequent IPO.

Willardson also previously held senior finance roles with Leap Wireless International (Nasdaq: LEAP), Bechtel Corp., The Fremont Group, and Fluor Daniel.

He holds a bachelor's degree in finance from Brigham Young University and an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California.

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