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Pike leaving MassCEC

MassCEC CEO Stephen PikeDavid L. Ryan/Globe Staff


Pike leaving MassCEC

Stephen Pike will leave the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center on Friday after six years leading the quasi-public agency, to take an unspecified new private sector job. Pike announced his departure on Wednesday, coinciding with a meeting of the clean energy center’s board of directors. The board named MassCEC chief financial officer Jennifer Daloisio interim CEO while the Baker administration searches for Pike’s replacement. Pike initially became interim chief executive of MassCEC in September 2015, and then was officially appointed CEO by the administration in November of the following year. He was previously the agency’s general counsel, and had extensive experience practicing corporate law in Boston before joining MassCEC. Pike earned $195,000 last year leading the 55-person agency; the CEO salary has remained the same for the past nine years. The board has not set a salary for the new CEO. The agency declined to disclose where Pike is going although in a statement Pike hinted that it would be related to clean energy and climate work, as he thanked the Baker administration for “giving me the opportunity to work on the Commonwealth’s most pressing climate challenges, and I look forward to continuing that effort in the private sector.” — JON CHESTO



Insurify to double workforce

Cambridge insurance tech startup Insurify will double its workforce, from 125 to 250 people, by the end of next year now that it has raised $100 million in an investment round led by Motive Partners, a private equity firm that focuses on financial technology startups. That brings the total amount of money raised by Insurify, which runs a platform that allows consumers to compare auto, home, and life insurance quotes, to $128 million. Chief technology officer Gene Shkolnik said the company is actively looking to expand its team of engineers, product managers, and data scientists. Other investors in this round include existing investors Viola FinTech, MassMutual Ventures, Nationwide, Hearst Ventures, and Moneta VC as well as new investors Viola Growth and Fort Ross Ventures. — JON CHESTO



Private equity firm to get controlling stake in Drift

Private equity firm Vista Equity Partners has reached a deal to acquire a controlling stake in Boston chatbot software firm Drift. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, although the companies said the price paid for the stake values Drift, which employs about 600 people, at more than $1 billion. This makes Drift one of the few Latino-founded “unicorns,” or startups worth more than $1 billion. Drift chief executive David Cancel said Vista is the best partner to help his firm because of its extensive experience in investing in software-as-a-service companies. The Vista acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of the year. — JON CHESTO


Pace named new head of AP

Julie Pace, a longtime Washington journalist who managed coverage of the US government during a period of historic tumult, was named Wednesday as the executive editor and senior vice president of the Associated Press. The 39-year-old Pace has been the AP’s Washington bureau chief since 2017, guiding reporting on the Trump administration, national security, politics, and the new Biden White House. She rose to the newsroom’s top leadership spot with a promise to accelerate the AP’s digital transformation. Pace succeeds Sally Buzbee, who became executive editor of The Washington Post in June, and is the third consecutive woman to lead the AP’s worldwide news operation. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Vaccine mandates gain support among employers

Vaccine mandates are set to get more common in the workplace. A majority of US employers — 52 percent — are planning or considering requirements for a COVID-19 shot by the end of the year, according to a survey released Wednesday by consultant Willis Towers Watson. That’s more than double the 21 percent of companies polled that currently have some form of mandate. The options vary, ranging from a strict order for all employees to limiting access to certain areas to inoculated workers. About 14 percent of respondents also said they are weighing a health care surcharge for people who choose not to get the vaccine, while 1 percent are planning to impose one, according to the survey of 961 employers, conducted Aug. 18-25. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Twitter launches product aimed at blocking abusive users

Twitter debuted a new product called Safety Mode that will automatically block users who are being aggressive or hateful toward another person in an effort to help reduce harassment. The social networking company said it will use automated technology to look at the content of a tweet and “the relationship between the Tweet author and replier” to determine if a block is warranted. If the company detects that one user is “using potentially harmful language — such as insults or hateful remarks — or sending repetitive and uninvited replies or mentions,” it will automatically block the offending user on behalf of the targeted person, Twitter said Wednesday in a blog post. Automatic blocks last for seven days. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



OPEC sticks with its oil production increases

OPEC and its allies agreed to stick to their existing plan for gradual monthly oil-production increases after a brief video conference. Ministers ratified the 400,000 barrel-a-day supply hike scheduled for October, delegates said. The group took less than an hour to reach an agreement, one of the quickest meetings in recent memory and a stark contrast to the drawn-out negotiations seen at the cartel’s previous talks in July. With crude prices mostly recovered from their mid-August slump and the supply outlook relatively tight for the rest of the year, the group has little reason to change the established schedule of gradual monthly supply hikes. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Wisconsin backs away from regulating private pool rentals

Wisconsin regulators have backed down on demands that operators of a startup that allows private homeowners to rent their swimming pools by the hour said would kill their business. The regulators told Swimply in April that pools offered for rent would have to be treated the same as large, public swimming pools. That meant a pool’s owner would have to obtain a license and meet construction requirements that are more onerous. But on Friday, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection notified attorneys for Swimply that most pools offered for rent would not have to meet those higher standards. Wisconsin was the first state to push back against Swimply, which started in 2018 with four pools in New Jersey but has taken off during the pandemic as more people looked for private spaces to swim and have fun. — ASSOCIATED PRESS