Highly experienced executives working together to deliver renewable energy across Africa.
“We are now entering the golden age of renewables. Five or ten years ago, renewables would not have worked because they needed a lot of subsidies. What we have seen on the African continent is that the resources for renewables – solar and wind – are there in abundance. The prices for both have come down and are almost at parity or below parity with other generation sources, so renewable power can be competitive. And of course, the fuel comes for free. It takes one, or maximum two years to be operational with renewable energy. Africa is thirsty for power, as we know, and the sooner we can get there, the better.”
Chris has extensive experience in developing power and infrastructure projects in Africa, having overseen initiatives valued at more than $4 billion combined. He was appointed as CEO of Lekela in March 2015 by the board.
Before joining Lekela, Chris spent eight years as Group Vice President at Bombardier Transportation, one of the largest rail-equipment manufacturing and servicing industry companies in the world. Based in Berlin, he was responsible for close to $10 billion in global sales and business development.
Swiss-born, Chris has been active in the energy and infrastructure industry since 1987 in sales and business development positions, including senior management positions at ABB, the leading global electrical engineering group. During an 11-year spell at the company, his roles included Business Area President for ABB Equity Ventures, Regional VP for Asia Pacific and Regional VP of Europe, Middle East and Africa.
“If there is a continent that can really take advantage of renewable energy, it is Africa. The opportunities for the sector are huge, and we are consistently seeing growth in investment and innovation.
During my career, I have enjoyed helping to build new businesses across Africa which are equipped to deliver reliable and sustainable power, and which operate to world class standards. At Lekela, it is not just quality that is crucial - creating long-term value in the communities where we operate is also absolutely central to everything we do.”
Michael joined Lekela as CFO in May 2018, with responsibility for all financial matters for the group. Michael also serves as a member of the Lekela Executive Committee and is a director on operating subsidiary boards throughout the group.
With over 20 years of wide-ranging experience, Michael has held a variety of senior head office financial and accounting roles throughout his career and has particular expertise within the energy sector, in both Africa and Central America.
Prior to Lekela, Michael had been Director of Finance for Globeleq, responsible for managing the finance function, and working across Africa to establish new businesses and strategic projects as well as overseeing existing operations. He previously held positions at Actis, CDC Group, Close Brothers and NatWest UK.
“Renewables is a great new area for power in Africa, giving an opportunity for grids to grow dramatically. They’re not only clean but quick to implement and cost-effective. We’re seeing huge growth in capacity across Africa, both through projects organised by governments in Egypt and South Africa, but also on specific projects that have been developed by groups like Lekela working directly with the governments in Ghana and Senegal.”
Chris joined the Lekela team in September 2016, serving as a member of the Executive Committee. He is actively engaged in developing and implementing Lekela’s strategy, leading construction and asset management across our portfolio in Africa.
With 20 years of experience in the energy sector, Chris has held numerous senior roles across the industry. He most recently spent 10 years with Globeleq, living and working in Tanzania where he was Head of Asset Management with responsibility for the commercial and technical performance of its Africa wide operating businesses and for managing the Songas power project.
“My first work experience in Africa was in Nigeria and it helped me have a wider view of how a company can impact and empower people within those communities. That was definitely an eye-opener for me. And now at Lekela, we’re empowering communities, developing and training individuals and training the employment base in the markets we operate in, to foster the skills that will allow people to have a better life.”
Isobel joined Lekela as the Vice President for Human Resources in December 2015 and has responsibility for providing HR leadership across the business, setting the people agenda and organisational culture. Isobel also serves as a member of the Lekela Executive Committee.
She has more than a decade’s international HR experience in the energy industry across Africa and Central America most recently having been Vice President Human Resources at Globeleq, driving its HR strategy.
“After I had left university and worked for two years, I saved money and went backpacking around Africa. I visited Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana, and as a result, Africa will always be close to my heart. I jumped at the opportunity to combine my professional career with a continent where I had travelled and experienced.”
Adam brings a wealth of experience in the energy sector across Africa. In his career to date, he has seen how emerging markets across the continent have become a hotbed for renewable energy as they look to diversify from fossil fuels and support their economic growth through sustainable power.
In February 2016, he joined Lekela as general counsel where he is responsible for all legal and compliance issues. Adam also serves as a member of the Lekela Executive Committee and is a director on operating subsidiary boards throughout the group. Before that, he spent more than seven years at Globeleq as the company’s senior lawyer for Africa.
In his career to date, Adam has advised on the development of greenfield projects and acquisitions, which included the Azito Expansion Project in Cote d’Ivoire, the acquisition of over 300MW in Cameroon and Globeleq’s South African wind and solar projects.
Prior to Globeleq, Adam spent seven years at Clifford Chance, working in three continents with a strong focus on energy and infrastructure in emerging markets.
“I’m passionate about renewable energy and for me this is the future direction for power generation. We need to change and become more sustainable in many ways – for the world and the future of our kids - and the power sector is a key area. Therefore, it is a great opportunity to be able to contribute to the development of this future-oriented sector. Work with development of clean energy in Africa adds another dimension: to help millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa not only to access power but to build clean and sustainable power sources. This opportunity creates a great experience and really resonates with me and I am proud to be part of building a new company in this market.”
Mikael Joined Lekela in March 2016 and is responsible for all of the company’s business development activity in Sub-Saharan Africa. That involves identifying and analysing opportunities in different markets for wind and solar projects.
His background in energy investments and project financing is well matched to his current role, having spent the past 25 years in private equity and project and structured financing of infrastructure and energy projects. Mikael came to Lekela from Sustainable Technologies Fund in Stockholm, where he was investment director and partner since 2013. Before that, he spent six years as a partner at Platina Energy Partners LLP, one Europe’s leading renewable energy managers.
At Platina he was responsible for deal sourcing, project financing and fundraising. Prior to that, Mikael held senior positions in project and structured corporate finance with Citigroup, GE Capital, ABN AMRO Bank and ABB Financial Services.
“What Lekela does is very exciting because we have investment targeted at a huge continent which is ideally placed for renewables. These are significant projects, contributing cheap, clean energy for national power consumption. The primary concern used to be about getting electricity, but as renewable energy has become cheaper, it has become one of the fuels of choice across Africa”.
Julian joined Lekela in February 2016 and has 20 years’ experience in the energy industry, with the past 12 years spent specifically in renewables. Over that time, he has seen how the sector has matured, to become a mainstream energy source.
A fluent French speaker, Julian’s primary markets are north and Francophone Africa, where he leads Lekela’s business development projects in Egypt and Senegal.
Julian previously worked for RES Group where he led the development of a 300 MW portfolio of wind and solar plants in Turkey and around the Mediterranean basin. Prior to that, he worked for an Italian renewable energy start-up, Falck Renewables, where he was responsible for developing and financing wind farms in the UK, Turkey and Poland.
“As a company, we try to be a best-in-class platform in renewables in Africa. We need to uphold the very highest standards across the board. I don’t think you can separate the environmental and social aspect of that. These projects have impact on the ground, and we want to work with communities in a way that respects their rights and ensures they benefit from our projects.”
Jennifer joined Lekela in October 2015 and is responsible for providing oversight for all of Lekela’s projects across Africa, to ensure they are delivered to the highest standards.
In her role, she engages with the community and ensures the company conducts its business conforming to the highest standards of integrity. She also leads the company’s ESG due diligence on projects.
Jennifer has more than 15 years’ experience working in the areas of environmental and sustainability, consulting for a wide range of public and private sector clients including the World Bank, Development Finance Institutions, commercial banks and project developers.
“Africa’s increasing demand for power, coupled with the continent’s world-class wind and solar capacity has created huge potential for renewable energy as source of energy. Africa is a dynamic continent, and we are seeing greater levels of investment and innovation, which we expect will continue to grow.
During my career, I have been able to work with a wide variety of organisations, from developers, to banks, governments and consumers, and this is a real highlight. Project finance has an integral part to play in the delivery and execution of projects. Helping projects to be built on schedule and on time ultimately helps support the growth of renewables across the continent”.
Bernard joined Lekela in August 2018 as Head of Project Finance and is responsible for the financial structuring of all business development investments and will manage all project finance arrangements.
Bernard has over 15 years’ experience in infrastructure and energy, holding a variety of investment roles throughout his career. He has worked in the African energy sector for over 10 years, and has closed multiple complex projects, including 850MW of renewable energy projects in South Africa.
Prior to joining Lekela, Bernard was Investment Director at GreenWish Partners, responsible for business development in Africa. Before this, he was responsible for Mainstream Renewable Power’s commercial activities in Africa and the Middle East and was a key participant in the creation of Lekela.
Andrew McDowall joined Lekela in September 2016 as Assistant Accountant.
Anna Myburgh joined Lekela in August 2017 as Company Secretary.
Arthur Crawshay joined Lekela in May 2017 as ESG Associate.
Faisal Eissa joined Lekela in March 2018 as General Manager, Egypt.
Jarred Simpson joined Lekela in May 2016 as Group Finance Manager.
Jas Khakh joined Lekela in January 2016 as Executive Assistant and Office Manager.
Massaer Cisse joined Lekela in June 2018 as General Manager, Senegal.
Niels Campman joined Lekela in May 2017 as Senior Engineer.
Oliver Harrower joined Lekela in September 2017 as Senior Treasury Analyst.
Community Liaison Officer, Taiba N’Diaye
Project Director, Taiba N’Diaye
Office Manager & Executive Assistant, Taiba N’Diaye
Rowan Parkhouse joined Lekela in January 2016 as Manager, Business Development.
Sam Thomson joined Lekela in October 2017 as Business Development Associate.
Thomas Bevis joined Lekela in May 2017 as an Accountant.