The Albanese government has appointed venture capitalist and philanthropist Airtree cofounder Daniel Petre to the board of its $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund to be chaired by climate investor Martijn Wilder, founder and CEO of Pollination.
The eight-member board for the government’s signature investment project also includes Invest Victoria chair Ahmed Fahour, MD of Latitude Financial Services, former Liberal minister Kelly O’Dwyer, OncoRes Medical CEO Dr Katharine Giles, former union boss Daniel Walton, South Australian Kathryn Presser, chair of the South Australian Department of Treasury and Finance’s Risk and Performance Committee. and Queenslander Karen Smith-Pomeroy, chair of the Regional Investment Corporation and the National Affordable Housing Consortium.
Finance minister Senator Katy Gallagher said the new Board’s specialist knowledge spans the NRF’s seven priority investment areas: renewables and low emissions technologies; medical science; transport; value-add in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors; value-add in resources; defence capability; and enabling capabilities.
“These appointments are an important step in implementing the Albanese Government’s Future Made in Australia agenda,” she said.
“The Board members announced today will be key to ensuring that we, as a nation, grasp the opportunities before us to diversify and transform the Australian economy.”
Petre, now partner emeritus of Airtree, is no longer involved in the day-to-day operational side of the VC business, instead focusing on his philanthropic work through the StartGiving, a not-for-profit he founded to inspire a new culture of giving in Australia’s innovation community. He is also chair of Vera Living, a director of MetaOptima Technology Inc, an Adjunct Professor at UNSW and a member of the UNSW Centre for Social Impact’s Advisory Council.
The National Reconstruction Fund is modelled on the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which Wilder helped develop to invest in a range of climate tech startups. The board will make investment decisions on allocating the $15 billion war chest to reshape the Australian economy and manufacturing.
Martijn Wilder has been focused on climate change issues for several years, chairing the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, and Low Carbon Australia, as well as being a director of the Climate Council.
“I’m honoured to be asked to chair the NRF Board and begin the critical work of rebuilding our industrial capabilities and driving innovation,” he said.
“This is an experienced and capable Board with the range of experience necessary to manage risk and drive decision making across the fund’s priority areas.”
More on the National Reconstruction Fund is available on the the Dept of Industry, Science and Resources website.
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