Executive Leadership Team
Ivor Frischknecht – Chief Executive Officer
Ivor Frischknecht was appointed inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) in August 2012.
Ivor is widely acknowledged as an expert and innovator in the rapidly evolving energy industry. He leads ARENA’s efforts to accelerate the commercialisation and integration of renewable energy into Australia’s energy system as well as playing a leading role in transforming the electricity sector.
ARENA, with funding of $2 billion, manages a diverse portfolio of projects across the innovation chain, from early research to utility scale deployment. ARENA’s work has supported almost 300 renewable energy projects under Ivor’s leadership, unlocking $2.4 billion in other investment. It has delivered and fast-tracked renewable energy development in Australia, including large-scale solar which has now become commercially viable without subsidy.
Ivor brings decades of private sector experience to ARENA, particularly involving smart investment in clean technology start-ups and growth companies. Before joining ARENA, Ivor was responsible for clean tech investments at venture capital firm, Starfish Ventures, which manages $400 million primarily on behalf of Australian superannuation funds.
Before that he was CEO and investor in the clean tech sector in Silicon Valley, California.
Ivor has degrees in law and economics from the University of Sydney, and an MBA and Public Management Certificate from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Ian Kay – Chief Financial Officer
Ian Kay is ARENA’s Chief Financial Officer and leads ARENA’s business development and transactions teams. Ian’s focus is on optimising the use of ARENA’s grant money to help proponents secure the sponsor equity, third party equity and project finance debt needed to bring projects to financial close.
Ian possesses 15 years’ experience leading investment in infrastructure, development and commercialisation of renewable energy projects at Origin Energy and Macquarie Group.
He has particular skill in managing joint venture partnerships and a track record of designing innovative transaction structures. Ian brings a depth of experience to ARENA and has originated, developed and led projects totalling more than $12 billion in enterprise value and $3.7 billion total required equity commitment. He has experience of a broad range of renewable energy projects.
Ian holds a Master of Arts (Honours) in Economic Science from Aberdeen University and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (England and Wales).
Nicola Morris – Chief Operating Officer
Nicola Morris commenced as Chief Operating Officer for ARENA in July 2016. She provides oversight of the Strategy, Human Resources, Strategic Communication, Legal and Projects teams.
Nicola had most recently been Acting Head of Division of Innovation Programs Division – AusIndustry in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. She was also General Manager of the Business Management element of the Entrepreneurs’ Program. The Entrepreneurs’ Program operates as a public private partnership, being a public sector business management enhancement programme delivered through private sector advisers.
Nicola previously worked at ARENA as General Manager and General Counsel until early 2014 and was responsible for the Big Solar team. She was also the head of the ARENA Establishment Team in the lead up to the commencement of ARENA in July 2012.
Previously Chief Lawyer for the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, and a lawyer in private practice, Nicola has transitioned to program management, with a particular interest in innovation programs, and the intersection between public sector programs and private sector expertise and delivery models.
Ben Hart – General Manager Strategic Communication
Ben Hart is a strategic communications professional with 20 years experience across a range of sectors.
Ben has held senior media and communications roles in national organisations such as headspace and the AFL Players Association and was previously a Ministerial Chief of Staff in the Victorian Government.
Ben began his career as a journalist for the Herald Sun in Melbourne and has returned to media work a number of times in his career, most recently as a producer for ABC RN’s national Drive program. This background has ensured Ben brings a storytelling focus and strong networks to his work for ARENA.
Ben holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from RMIT and is completing postgraduate studies in communications research.
Tom Campey – General Manager Strategy and Knowledge Sharing
Tom Campey is the General Manager, Strategy and Knowledge Sharing. In this role he helps ARENA decide where to focus its financial assistance and related efforts to best achieve ARENA’s objectives.
Prior to ARENA, Tom worked at the CSIRO, where he led a project to develop a roadmap for low emissions technologies in Australia. Before CSIRO, Tom spent five years at McKinsey & Company, focused mainly on strategy, serving clients in a wide range of industries including energy, mining, banking and retail.
Tom holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Space), a Bachelor of Science (Physics) and a PhD (Physics) from The University of Queensland.
Kirsty Gowans – General Manager Project Delivery
Kirsty is a highly experienced commercial lawyer and corporate governance professional who joined ARENA in 2016 to take up the role of General Manager, Project Delivery. Prior to commencing work with ARENA, Kirsty was General Counsel for Indigenous Business Australia. In that role she provided advice on commercial matters and administrative law matters, including co‑investment and incentive structures, company law, contracts and finance arrangements. She also played a key role in supporting the governance functions of the Board and overseeing IBA’s governance, compliance and legal risk management framework.
A committed development specialist, Kirsty’s previous experience includes working with the Northern Land Council, NSW Native Title Service, North Australian Aboriginal Legal Service and NSW Legal Aid Commission. She has also worked as an investigator with the NSW Ombudsman and a mediator of complaints for the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.
In addition to her legal qualifications, Kirsty has postgraduate qualifications in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Law Society of the ACT. She recently completed her Masters in Public and International Law at the University of Melbourne.