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Our Executive

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Ian Learmonth

Chief Executive Officer

Mr Learmonth has more than 30 years’ experience as a financier and investor, having worked in Australia, Asia and Europe across asset finance, clean energy and major infrastructure projects, as well as pioneering Australian social impact investing. Prior to his appointment as CEO for the CEFC, Mr Learmonth established the Social Ventures Australia Impact Investing business, which included raising venture capital and affordable housing funds as well as launching Australia’s first Social Impact Bond in 2013. Previously an Executive Director of Macquarie Group for 12 years, Mr Learmonth has extensive global investment banking experience. Mr Learmonth established and led various Macquarie businesses, notably European renewable energy and carbon credit investments, cross border asset and structured finance and securitisation in Asia and Europe. Mr Learmonth has degrees in Law and Commerce from the University of Queensland. He is a director of venture capital firm Virescent Ventures and has been a long-standing director of Sydney’s Belvoir Street theatre company.

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Sara Leong

Chief Asset Management Officer

Ms Leong has responsibility for the management of the diverse CEFC portfolio of debt, equity, fund and early-stage/venture capital investment commitments, as well as oversight of the organisation’s environmental, social and governance function. Ms Leong has extensive experience in infrastructure, project and structured finance and asset, portfolio and funds management, having invested in infrastructure on behalf of pension funds. Prior to joining the CEFC, Ms Leong worked at Deutsche Bank, Macquarie Group and ANZ Bank, in Australia and the UK. Ms Leong has a Master of Laws (Corporate and Commercial) from the University of NSW, a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) and a Bachelor of Business (Finance) from the University of Technology, Sydney. She is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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Paul McCartney

Chief Clean Futures Officer

Mr McCartney leads the specialist Clean Futures Team, which is focused on unlocking investment opportunities critical to Australia’s clean energy transition. These include grid augmentation, hydro power, green hydrogen, large-scale battery storage, virtual power plants and addressing non-energy related emissions. Mr McCartney has more than 30 years’ experience working across clean energy, commercial property, funds management and IT services. He has worked in the mergers and acquisitions area, in addition to folding chief financial officer roles for listed and unlisted companies. Mr McCartney is a Certified Practising Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Accountancy from RMIT University. He is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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Leanne McDonald

Chief People and Culture Officer

Ms McDonald leads people and culture initiatives which deliver the talent, capability and workplace culture the CEFC requires to make a positive impact. Ms McDonald has more than 25 years’ experience in a range of senior human resources roles in the energy, resources, financial services, IT and telecommunications sectors. She has designed and implemented industry-recognised change initiatives, enabling the business strategy of Australian and global organisations. As a management consultant, Ms McDonald led strategic initiatives for clients in the financial services, manufacturing and public sectors. Ms McDonald was the 2017 Chief Executive Women (CEW) Scholar, holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Psychology and a Master of Commerce in Organisational Behaviour from the University of NSW.

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Andrew Powell

Chief Financial Officer

Mr Powell has more than 35 years’ business experience, working within industry and public accounting both in Australia and the United States. Mr Powell is experienced in all aspects of financial accounting, as well as mergers and acquisitions, public listings and transaction and deal structuring. Mr Powell was founding Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary of Low Carbon Australia Limited, where he also contributed to strategic direction. Mr Powell has previously held the role of Senior Vice President of Finance for then NASDAQ-listed Symyx Technologies, Inc. and senior roles with EY (Ernst & Young) in both Australia and the United States. Mr Powell is a Chartered Accountant, holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from Macquarie University, and is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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Ludovic Theau

Chief Investment Officer

Mr Theau is responsible for the origination and execution of CEFC investments, including leading the successful financing of a number of market-leading renewable energy and energy efficiency commitments. Mr Theau has more than 30 years’ experience in delivering large transactions in infrastructure, utilities and public/private partnership, with a particular focus on the clean energy transition. Prior to joining the CEFC, Mr Theau worked in Europe and Australia in financial advisory, funds management, asset management, commercial and investment banking, including with Hastings Funds Management, Westpac, ABN AMRO, Macquarie Bank, UBS and BNP Paribas. Mr Theau holds a Master of Engineering degree from École Centrale de Paris, France.

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Jay Tolson

General Counsel and Company Secretary

Mr Tolson provides legal and company secretary support to the Board and Executive with respect to CEFC investments, corporate legal matters, governance and reporting. Mr Tolson is an experienced leader within the financial services industry. Prior to joining the CEFC, he was General Counsel for Credit Suisse in Australia, where he worked across a broad range of complex financing, investment banking and capital markets transactions. He previously held senior legal positions with National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia. In private practice, Mr Tolson worked for Linklaters as a banking and finance solicitor in London and Singapore. Mr Tolson completed his legal studies in England and is admitted to practice in New South Wales, England and Wales.

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Craig Whalen

Chief Risk Officer

Mr Whalen has responsibility for internal and external risk management, credit analysis and risk assessment on new and existing investment commitments. Mr Whalen has more than 25 years’ experience in finance, including transaction origination and execution, as well as portfolio management. He has served on the boards of several renewable energy projects, as well as Flinders Ports, where he was Treasury Committee chair. Prior to joining the CEFC, Mr Whalen was an Executive Director at Infrastructure Capital Group for more than 13 years, and also held positions at ANZ, Macquarie Group, Bankers Trust and King + Wood Mallesons. Mr Whalen holds Bachelor of Commerce and Law degrees from the University of Queensland, was admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1993 and is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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