Chris Cormack and Anson Zhang

Fast-growing energy firm Discover Energy has recruited industry veteran Chris Cormack to its ranks, stepping in as general manager — strategy, growth and future energy. 

The company offers a range of renewable energy services aimed at disrupting the large retailers, with a focus on distributed energy resources. It operates in four states, with more than half of customers in NSW.

Since launching in 2018, the company has seen rapid growth and now employs around 40 people in Australia, as well as a team of around 20 software engineers and programers in China. 

Mr Cormack will play a central role in guiding the company’s future. He spent the past 20 years in various senior positions with AGL, AEMO, and a number of start-ups

Chief executive Anson Zhang, who also heads major solar and battery wholesaler One Stop Warehouse, told The Fifth Estate having Cormack on board would help speed up the broader renewables transition. 

“We know the direction and how to speed up the transition [to majority distributed energy resources], but how to lobby government organisations like AEMO to be on the same page we need someone like Chris to help us,” Mr Zhang said. 

He said that Cormack’s knowledge of how traditional energy retailers and regulators function would help his company forge a unique path in coming years.

“We’re looking into over the next two or three years, not trying to be a single energy retailer. We want to open all of our technical platforms, like VPP and even in Australia we can white label our licence,” Zhang said. 

“We want to welcome more parties to come to the energy retailing industry. We want to be a software company like NetSuite or AWS. And then lower the threshold for the energy retailing industry.” 

Investa adds more experienced board members

Ben Keen has joined ESR Australia as head of funds management and capital transactions which has about $8 billion of funds under management in the logistics space after leaving ISPT as general manager logistics and warehousing after nearly three year, and 17 with Dexus.

The parent group claims to be the biggest logistics real estate group in the Asia Pacific with nearly $48 billion of assets under management, a floor area of 22.6 million square metres and more than 600 employees. Its customers include giant retailing outfits such as Amazon, THEICONOMIC, Toll, Coles and Kmart. The company was co founded by Warburg Pincus and senior management, which includes Phil Pearce, Scott Falvey and Robert Ewing. ESR Australia controls $8 billion under management.

Investa has bolstered its non-executive director appointments following the retirement of James Evans from its board.

The moves follow a recent major reshuffling of the company’s leadership team, with Merran Edwards taking over as chief financial officer in November following the appointment of Peter Menegazzo as chief executive and other senior executives earlier in the year. 

Jennifer Lambert has been appointed non-executive director of the company’s commercial property fund (ICPF) board of trustees, as well as Investa wholesale funds management limited (IWFML) and will also take over from Mr Evans as chair the Audit Risk and Compliance Committee.

She continues to hold non-executive director roles at REA Group, NEXTDC and BlueScope. She was previously chief financial officer of 151 Property (formerly Valad Property Group) and formerly a director at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Former BP Australia executive director and chief financial officer Rebecca McGrath, who is already a director of IWFML, has been appointed as a new non-executive director of its management board, IOMPHL. 

Ms McGrath holds several prominent positions including Chairman of ASX-listed Oz Minerals and non-executive director roles at Macquarie Group and Goodman Group.

More job movements

Steve McKellar is the new senior green infrastructure and environmentally sustainable design officer with the City of Melbourne, after he rejoined his old workplace after more than 11 years with the City of Port Phillip where he held a number of related roles.

Tim O’Loan has joined interdisciplinary firm Urbis as director, cities and design, having spent the past 12 years with the US engineering firm, AECOM. 

Mr O’Loan posted online he would be adjusting his practice to renew focus on “innovation ecosystems, resilient cities, and driving greater social value from major infrastructure.”

National law firm Holding Redlich has appointed Christine Lithgow as partner in Sydney, following three similar partner appointments in Brisbane and Melbourne over the last 12 months, with the aim of strengthening the firm’s construction and infrastructure practice. 

Over the last decade, Ms Lithgow has served as group general counsel for Transport NSW and general counsel for Roads and Maritime, where she led a large group of lawyers and advised on major transport and infrastructure projects in NSW. 

The company’s national managing partner, Ian Robertson spruiked the advantages of Ms Lithgow’s background with major government projects, considering the state government’s $108.5 billion infrastructure commitment over the next four years.

Former Charter Hall sustainability manager industrial and logistics, Phil Senn has joined supermarket giant Woolworths as senior manager climate change. 

Our pick of the jobs

It’s a chance to leave your mark on a Sydney institution, Lendlease is looking for a sustainability manager to work on the new Parramatta Powerhouse.

You’ll need previous experience to embed and deliver the sustainability strategy for the newly appointed museum, assisting and supporting the design and delivery teams through a three-year process. 

Working onsite in the project office, you will guide outcomes across environmental initiatives like energy, water, waste and embodied carbon reduction, as well as social initiatives like creating community benefit and reducing human rights risks in the supply chain.

This next job is on a voluntary basis but may be an opportunity for someone with excess knowledge and time to help tackle the major issue of food waste in Australia. 

Open Table, a grassroots food rescue and community meals charity is looking for someone with a knowledge in fundraising to join its volunteer board of directors.

Contributing provide leadership, stewardship and strategic governance to the organisation you will also need to help develop and actively engage in fundraising activities as you help tackle food waste and food insecurity.

The group is asking for a two hour fortnightly commitment and board members are expected to attend bi-monthly board meetings held virtually or in-person at North Fitzroy.

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