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Our Executive Team

With the backing of the Australian Government, the CEFC brings a unique combination of

financial expertise, technical knowledge and industry experience to the challenge of lowering Australia’s emissions.

Meet our Executive Team

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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, Hong Kong and Europe across clean energy and major infrastructure projects, as well as pioneering social impact investments.

Prior to taking the role at the CEFC, Mr Learmonth established Social Ventures Australia’s Impact Investing business which included raising impact 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 investment banking experience in Sydney, Hong Kong and London. He established and led various Macquarie businesses, notably European renewable energy and carbon credit investments, as well as cross-border structured finance and asset financing in Asia and Europe.

Mr Learmonth has degrees in Law and Commerce from the University of Queensland.

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Sara Leong

Chief Asset Management Officer

Ms Leong is Chief Asset Management Officer with responsibility for the management of a diverse and growing portfolio of debt, equity, funds and early-stage investments.

Ms Leong has extensive experience in infrastructure, project finance and asset, portfolio and investment management, having invested in infrastructure on behalf of pension funds.

Prior to joining the CEFC, Ms Leong worked at Deutsche Bank, Macquarie Group and the ANZ Bank in Australia and the UK.

Ms Leong has a Master of Laws (Corporate and Commercial) from the University of New South Wales, a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) and a Bachelor of Business (Finance) from the University of Technology, Sydney. She is also 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 CEFC 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 non-energy related emissions.

Mr McCartney has more than 25 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 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 also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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Leanne McDonald

Chief People and Culture Officer

As Chief People and Culture Officer, Ms McDonald leads people capability activities which empower the CEFC to make a positive impact.

Ms McDonald has held senior human resources roles in energy, resources, financial services, IT and telecommunications. She has designed and implemented industry-recognised change initiatives, enabling the business strategy of Australian and global organisations. As a management consultant, Ms McDonald also led strategic change initiatives for clients in the financial services, manufacturing and public sectors.

Ms McDonald holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Psychology, as well as a Master of Commerce in Organisational Behaviour from the University of NSW.  In 2017, Ms McDonald was awarded a Chief Executive Women educational scholarship to MIT.

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Andrew Powell

Chief Financial Officer

Mr Powell has more than 30 years of 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 previously founding chief financial officer and company secretary of Low Carbon Australia Limited, where he also contributed to strategic direction. Mr Powell was previously senior vice president of finance for NASDAQ-listed Symyx Technologies, and held senior roles with Ernst & Young in both Australia and the United States.

Mr Powell is a Chartered Accountant, holds a Bachelor of Economics 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 leads the CEFC Investment Team, 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 projects.

Mr Theau has more than 25 years' experience in delivering large transactions in the infrastructure, utilities and public/private partnership sectors, 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 from École Centrale de Paris, France.

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Jay Tolson

General Counsel, 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. As General Counsel for Credit Suisse in Australia 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 and England & Wales.

Craig Whalen

Craig Whalen

Chief Risk Officer

Mr Whalen is responsible for internal and external risk management at the CEFC. This includes credit analysis and risk assessment of new investment opportunities, as well as the management and reporting of the credit and investment risks within the existing investment portfolio.

Mr Whalen has more than 25 years’ experience in finance. He has worked across transaction origination and execution, as well as portfolio management, and been responsible for innovative debt transactions. Mr Whalen is an experienced director, having been on the boards of several renewable energy projects, as well as Flinders Ports, where he was also the chair of its Treasury Committee.

Prior to joining the CEFC, Mr Whalen was an Executive Director at Infrastructure Capital Group, 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, is admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland and is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.