IJGlobal Awards 2020 – Europe & Africa Judging Team

We pride ourselves on staging peer-review awards, gathering a team of independent industry experts to weigh up submissions and (secretly) select winners for the coveted IJGlobal Awards.

With submissions building up nicely for the 4 regional awards – portal open until 12 March (access it here) – we are delighted to announce the Europe and Africa judging team for IJGlobal Awards 2020.

As always, we have pulled together a line-up of judges who have deep experience across the panoply of infrastructure and energy sectors – industry professionals who have a finger on the pulse.

Needless to say, judges are recused so as not to influence voting in areas where they and their organisations are involved.

We will meet (virtually) after the submissions have been processed to discuss submissions and vote on the merits of individual organisations.

The judges (in no particular order) are:

  • Caroline Miller Smith – White & Case
  • Matthew Houseley – Newbridge Advisors
  • Allan Baker – Societe Generale
  • Fiona Reilly – FiRe Energy
  • Mark Henderson – Gridserve
  • Sarah Roberts – INTECH
  • Manish Gupta – EY
  • Sarah Heavey – CIBC
  • Chris Williams – LBBW
  • Claus Fintzen – AllianzGI
  • Layth Irani – SMBC
  • Emilio Cattaneo – PIDG
  • Victoria Westcott – Reed Smith
  • Susan Shehata – John Laing
  • Kevin Ryder – Caseyare Consulting
  • Olusola Lawson – AIIM

The other regional judging teams can be found here:


Caroline Miller Smith – White & Case

Caroline Miller Smith is a partner at White & Case and is head of the EMEA project development and finance group at the law firm. Her practice focuses on infrastructure and power transactions, including road, rail and airports, transmission and distribution, renewable and thermal generation, desalination and water management, ports, social infrastructure and defence projects, in all of which she has long-standing experience.

She undertakes both greenfield and acquisition transactions, as well as complex financings. Caroline advises investors, infrastructure funds, contractors, developers and senior creditors on project, finance and acquisition documentation, as well as advising governments on "first in country" transactions in numerous industries. The breadth of her experience means she is adept at advising on projects in multiple jurisdictions, including Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. 

Matthew Houseley – Newbridge Advisors

Matthew is a well-known figure in the infrastructure community having advised on project and property financings for 30 years and is a founding partner of Newbridge Advisors. He previously worked for Royal Bank of Canada for 12 years following a 9-year career at Greenwich NatWest and was the managing director, head of RBC’s social infrastructure team.

He has helped to deliver funding for government offices, hospitals, housing, rail, renewables, roads, schools, secure accommodation, universities, waste and water projects. Other work has included advising clients on equity disposals and acquisitions, regeneration initiatives, restructurings and capital raisings.

Matthew has worked on projects in many countries including in France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the USA. In 2003 Matthew was seconded to Partnerships UK where he established the refinancings Taskforce.

Allan Baker – Societe Generale

Allan Baker has worked at Societe Generale for 10 years – rising to his current role of managing director, global head of power advisory and project finance – and has been involved in the power sector for more than 30 years, initially as an engineer and then in finance.

During his career he has advised on and/or financed power projects in Europe, the US and Asia, and in sectors ranging from greenfield renewable energy, through gas and coal, to the acquisition of large international power portfolios.

Most recently, Allan has acted as financial adviser on a number of offshore wind M&A and debt transactions, including the successful acquisition by EDF-EN of the Neart Na Gaoithe offshore wind farm in Scotland; the Shell-Eneco bid for Borssele 3 & 4 offshore wind project in the Netherlands; an acquisition by a Chinese company of a stake in an offshore wind farm and the CDPQ London Array (630MW) financing in the UK.

Outside of Europe, Allan is currently advising an offshore wind project in Taiwan and was part of the advisory team that successfully closed the Block Island for Deepwater in the US.

Fiona Reilly – FiRe Energy

With a career that has spanned legal and financial advisory and now industry, Fiona Reilly has a compelling career in the infrastructure/energy community.

She is currently managing director of FiRe Energy as well as serving as a strategic advisory board member to the Nuclear Industry Association; non-executive director of Ansaldo Nuclear; and is the UK representative and co-chair of the EMWG for the GIF.

Fiona is an energy and infrastructure specialist with more than 25 years’ experience encompassing nuclear, oil and gas, renewables and thermal power. She is often involved in large-scale energy and infrastructure projects particularly the development, structuring, international regulatory development and compliance, licensing and financing.

She has a unique blend of skills including strategic and policy advice and regulatory expertise, deal structuring and financing, project and asset management, claims and disputes. She is recognised as an expert in the development and financing of nuclear projects by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (and IFNEC) and has served as a designated expert for the IAEA and chaired technical meetings on the financing, development and structuring of nuclear projects; as well as on decommissioning and waste management issues.

In January 2018 she was appointed chair of the Expert Finance Working Group on Small Reactors by BEIS and produced the Market Framework for Financing Small Nuclear in September 2018. She continues to work on low carbon projects around the globe, including the deployment of large and small reactors.

Previously, Fiona was partner and global head of nuclear services at Norton Rose Fulbright before moving away from the law to join PwC as the global nuclear lead for capital projects and infrastructure. Following PwC, Fiona became an executive partner and board director in Atlantic SuperConnection.

Mark Henderson – Gridserve Sustainable Energy

An investment banker and asset manager for 30 years, who has advised on, structured and financed over £5 billion and 8,000MW of infrastructure energy projects, Mark is a well-known figure in the European infrastructure market.

In more recent times, Mark has been involved in structuring and raising the capital needed for Gridserve’s sustainable energy infrastructure platform – a tech-enabled sustainable energy business that develops, builds, owns and operates solar energy and battery storage solutions for critical power infrastructure.

In the UK, Gridserve is constructing the country’s largest and most advanced subsidy-free hybrid solar farms and a network of more than 100 Electric Forecourts – large-scale, ultra-fast electric vehicle charging stations.

Previously Mark financed power projects globally at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson and Societe Generale, before establishing the project finance power and renewable energy team at Investec and the solar investment fund at Greencoat Capital. 

He will be well known to many for appearing on webinars discussing the merits of electric vehicles.

Sarah Roberts – INTECH Risk Management

Sarah Roberts is considered one of the foremost insurance experts in the PPP industry and is one of the few female insurance advisers in the infrastructure industry in North America – though her remit increasingly takes in Europe.

She brings a wealth of knowledge and an intimate understanding of the various risks faced by lenders and other key stakeholders. Lenders, sponsors and authorities in Canada, the US and Europe are continuously seeking Sarah's services and expertise regarding risk and insurance matters to achieve success.

Sarah took an active role in working on Canada’s first P3 projects as her extensive experience in project finance and construction provided a natural transition into the P3 world. Since then, she has been heavily involved with designing and implementing insurance specifications in all major agreements forming part of large projects, including roads, bridges, tunnels, hospitals, schools, courthouses, and other major publicly funded projects. Her hard work and dedication have resulted in over 150 successful global infrastructure and power transactions and financial close of more than 80 PPP projects.

Sarah routinely educates those around her on important insurance and risk issues surrounding the P3 sector. She frequently speaks at educational seminars and conferences for several large banking, infrastructure, property owner and developer clients in North America and Europe and has been a lecturer at the Technical University of Vienna's Master's Program for Real Estate Management.

Manish Gupta – EY

Manish is a regular judge on the IJGlobal Awards panel, securing repeated appearance for being one of the most prepared members of the team to meet on Judgment Day.

He is a long-established partner at EY based out of the London office in the infrastructure corporate finance team, with responsibility for the transport sector.

Manish has more than 20 years’ experience in infrastructure financing and M&A, with transactions ranging from project finance, refinancings and complex restructurings.

He has extensive cross-border development and financing experience, having worked with governments, banks and investors across the entire transport and infrastructure space.

Significant mandates include the complex and highly successful M25 refinancing, capital raising for Thameslink, advising a bidder on TfL Telecom concession, advising the government on the structuring and financing of Sydney airport, Manchester Waste PFI, and many more.

Prior to EY, he worked with Bechtel Enterprises and with IL&FS, a specialist infrastructure lender in India.

Sarah Heavey – CIBC

Another well-known face from the European infrastructure community, Sarah joined CIBC in 2012 to set up and lead its project finance and infrastructure business in Europe, with a focus on origination and structuring for balance sheet deployment and client coverage. 

She is now managing director and head of project finance and infrastructure for Corporate Banking Europe at CIBC Capital Markets.

Prior to this, Sarah was at Dexia’s London-based project finance and infrastructure team for 10 years, and RBS prior to that.

She has been active in banking for some 25 years and has a wealth of experience across project, structured and acquisition finance in renewables and core / core+ infrastructure, these being significant focus areas for CIBC in Europe.

Leading an experienced team, balance sheet and other products have been provided to numerous businesses supporting financial sponsors and investors across the UK and European markets.

Chris Williams – LBBW

Chris Williams – head of project finance, London – joined LBBW in September 2018 to establish a new team focused on infrastructure and renewable opportunities across the UK and Ireland.

The Team now consists of 6 people and has closed 12 deals to date (at the time of writing) with commitments totalling around €850 million.

Previously Chris was at Bank of Ireland for almost 19 years in project finance origination covering PPP, infrastructure and renewable energy transactions in UK, Europe and occasionally North America and spent his last 4 years at Bank of Ireland in Northern Ireland as head of project finance for NI.

Claus Fintzen – AllianzGI

Claus Fintzen is the CIO and head of infrastructure debt at AllianzGI in London. The infrastructure debt platform was created in 2012 in order to develop the institutional market for this asset class and to originate suitable transactions for the Allianz Group and certain external institutional investors.

So far, the team has invested in excess of €18 billion in projects across the transport, social infrastructure, energy and utility sectors globally.

Before joining AllianzGI, Claus spent 8 years at MBIA/Trifinium as a director, where he was involved in a variety of transactions, including transport, social housing, renewables, real estate and corporate debt, and was responsible for the origination and structuring of transactions in Germany and Austria.

Before joining MBIA/Trifinium Claus spent 9 years at Citigroup, working in the structured finance, securitisation and alternative risk transfer departments.

Layth Irani – SMBC

Layth Irani is co-general manager and managing director of the international and structured finance department of SMBC Bank International.

He has more than 30 years’ experience of acting as adviser, arranger and lender in the transport, infrastructure and telecoms sectors.

He is responsible for project financing including transport, infrastructure, telecoms, oil and gas, and power and renewables projects and of acquisition financing in those sectors.

He is also responsible for EMEA emerging markets financing within SMBC BI.

He has worked on projects in Europe, Middle East, Africa, North and South America and Asia.

Clients have included local and national governments, multilaterals and ECAs, construction companies and financial sponsors.

Emilio Cattaneo – PIDG

Emilio joined PIDG in 2015 as executive director of The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, becoming head of technical assistance in December 2019.

He has more than 35 years of corporate finance, asset management and advisory experience across several markets, including Africa, Latin America, India and Southern Europe.

Emilio spent close to 20 years with HSBC in the UK and abroad. Subsequently, he worked in a number of smaller firms, including an advisory M&A boutique that he founded and ran for 7 years and in a commodity brokerage firm focused on emerging markets, including Africa.

Before joining PIDG, Emilio was director of asset management at Climate Change Capital, a London-based fund manager focused on climate mitigation investment strategies, where he was closely involved in developing renewable energy and agri-business transactions in Africa.

Susan Shehata – John Laing Group

One of the best-known members of the HSBC team, earlier this year Susan joined John Laing – the responsible investor and active manager of infrastructure projects internationally – as a senior adviser to the company. 

Susan brings with her a wealth of experience built from more than 20 years of advisory and financing experience across the infrastructure and utilities sectors. 

She was previously global co-head of infrastructure and real estate finance at HSBC, where she oversaw debt and financial advisory, lending and capital markets, across sectors including energy, transport, telecoms and social infrastructure. 

Her experience at HSBC spans UK, Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East where her international client base included governments, corporations, pension funds and insurance companies. Prior to HSBC, Susan worked for Macquarie Bank in the infrastructure team. Before entering banking, Susan was with the Australian Government privatisation task force where she worked across a number of profile transactions including the privatisation of airports.

In her relatively new role at John Laing, Susan is advising John Laing’s investment committee. 

Victoria Westcott – Reed Smith

Victoria Westcott is a partner at Reed smith where she leads the project finance practice and co-heads the Africa business practice.  She is dual-qualified practicing under English law and French law.

She has led teams financing projects across the globe including in Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Central Asia, CEE and Africa with a particular focus on emerging markets. Victoria specialises in particular on transport and social infrastructure projects, renewable and conventional energy projects and water deals of all types (desalination, wastewater treatment, etc.).

Project financing, particularly complex cross-border deals, often involve multiple lender groups including multilateral and bilateral financing institutions, export credit agencies and commercial banks as well as industrial and financial investors, and Victoria is adept at keeping such complex projects on track, moving forward and ensuring smooth progress along the way.

Clients value her broad experience handling PPP and concession based financing, all types of secured and unsecured syndicated lending, export credit financing and tax-driven structures. Victoria knows what lenders are looking for and can advise on how to achieve it, including during transactions with no precedents to refer to.

Kevin Ryder – Caseyare Consulting

Kevin Ryder recently stepped down as UK Country Head at Nedbank Limited, London Branch, a role he had filled since September 2015 to establish an independent consultancy, advising project developers and investors.

Kevin spent 12 years at Nedbank London, following a transfer from Nedbank’s head office in Johannesburg in 2008.

He is a lawyer by background and has worked in financial services for more than 30 years.

His specialities include project finance and M&A, with particular focus on his home continent of Africa.

Olusola Lawson – African Infrastructure Investment Managers

Olusola was appointed co-managing director at AIIM in August 2020 and has more than 16 years of corporate finance and infrastructure equity investing experience across European and African markets.

Previously he was an investment manager in Macquarie’s European Infrastructure Funds team in London, where he worked on a number of European infra transactions in a principal capacity, and played a key role in portfolio company management, primarily in the petrochemical storage and transport space.

Prior to joining Macquarie, Olusola worked at PwC London, where his focus was on transaction advisory services to a primarily private equity client base.