Meet the CEFC Executive
Ian Learmonth, Chief Executive Officer
Ian Learmonth joined the CEFC as Chief Executive Officer in May 2017 with more than 30 years' experience as a financier and investor across markets in Asia, Europe and Australia. He has worked in asset finance and securitisation, clean energy and major infrastructure projects, as well as pioneering social impact investments.
Prior to taking the role at the CEFC, Ian established Social Ventures Australia’s Impact Investing business which included raising impact and affordable housing funds as well 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. Ian has degrees in Law and Commerce from the University of Queensland.
Michael Johnston, Chief Risk Officer
Michael Johnston is responsible for identifying, analysing and adequately mitigating all the internal and external risks that the CEFC encounters.
Mr Johnston is also responsible for the credit analysis and risk assessment of all new investment opportunities under consideration by the CEFC, as well as the management and reporting of the credit and investment risks within the existing investment portfolio.
Mr Johnston has more than 30 years’ experience working in the Australian banking industry for both Australian and international banks. He has led a number of origination teams, primarily in the leveraged and acquisition space, and has participated in the debt financings for a number of management and leveraged buyouts (MBOs and LBOs).
Prior to joining the CEFC, Mr Johnston was head of credit at Lloyds International (previously BOSI International). Mr Johnston holds a Bachelor of Economics from Macquarie University and a Graduate Diploma from the Securities Institute of Australia.
Sara Leong, Chief Asset Management Officer
Sara Leong is the CEFC’s Chief Asset Management Officer, with responsibility for the management of the CEFC’s 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 AG, Macquarie Group Limited and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited 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.
Paul McCartney, Chief Clean Futures Officer
Mr McCartney leads the CEFC’s specialist Clean Futures Team, developed to unlock opportunities and advancements that are important for Australia’s clean energy future, but currently face barriers to investment. Grid augmentation, including transmission interconnectors and renewable energy zones, is an immediate priority. The team is also focusing on hydro-electricity, grid-scale battery storage, virtual power plants, green hydrogen and non-energy related emissions.
Mr McCartney has more than 25 years of business experience working across clean energy, commercial property, funds management and IT services. Mr McCartney's experience includes mergers and acquisitions, in addition to chief financial officer roles for listed and unlisted companies.
Mr McCartney joined the CEFC in 2013, having previously worked at Low Carbon Australia.
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 (AICD).
Leanne McDonald, Executive Director - People and Culture
Ms McDonald is an experienced HR practitioner with more than 20 years’ experience in Human Resources and consulting. As Executive Director, People and Culture, Ms McDonald heads the CEFC People and Culture team, which is responsible for ensuring the CEFC acquires, develops and retains the right people capability so that the CEFC can continue to make a positive impact and explore new frontiers in clean energy financing.
Ms McDonald has held senior HR roles across a diverse range of industries, covering energy and resources, financial services, IT and telecommunications, including responsibility for the Asia Pacific region. She has deep expertise in dealing with the organisational challenges facing new and growing businesses, as well as organisations facing significant transformations. Throughout her career, Ms McDonald has designed and implemented industry-recognised change initiatives, which have helped enable the business strategy of both Australian and global organisations.
While at AGL Energy as Head of People and Culture, Ms McDonald supported the start-up gas exploration business to transition to operational stage. At Allianz, as part of a global business transformation, Ms McDonald led the Future Workforce strategy, which achieved significant uplift in leadership capability as well as improved gender and cultural diversity in senior leadership, consistently ahead of annual targets.
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.
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 the chief financial officer and company secretary of Low Carbon Australia Limited, a public company established by the Australian Government in 2010.
In addition to having oversight of the finance, IT, HR and legal roles as CFO, Mr Powell worked with the deal teams on structuring and reviewing transactions. He also actively supported the CEO in providing strategic direction, articulating a compelling vision and building the company's profile with the general public and business community.
Prior to that, Mr Powell was senior vice president of finance for Symyx Technologies, Inc. a NASDAQ-listed company, for a period of eight years in California. He also worked with Ernst & Young in both Australia and the United States for a combined period of nine years. 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.
Ludovic Theau, Chief Investment Officer
As Chief Investment Officer, Mr Theau is responsible for the origination and execution of new investments for the CEFC.
Mr Theau has led the successful financing of a number of the CEFC's innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, helping to develop the CEFC's growing investment portfolio.
Mr Theau has more than 25 years' experience in large transactions in the infrastructure, utilities and PPP sectors, including a wide range of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
Prior to the CEFC, Mr Theau worked in Europe and Australia in financial advisory, funds management, asset management, commercial and investment banking, 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.
Jay Tolson, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
As CEFC General Counsel, Mr Tolson leads the internal Legal and Company Secretary team, which provides proactive support to the CEFC Investment, Clean Futures and Portfolio Management teams and advises the organisation on corporate legal matters. As Corporate Secretary, Mr Tolson also supports the operations of the CEFC Board.
Mr Tolson is a highly experienced leader within the financial services industry, most recently serving as the 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, providing legal advice on a wide range of lending structures across the energy, infrastructure, resources, industrials, property, telecommunications, health, education and general corporate sectors.
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.