IJGlobal Awards 2021 – Europe & Africa Judging Team

It is our annual delight to announce the judging team for Europe and Africa – a fine selection of established industry professionals who will bring their experience to bear while assessing submissions for IJGlobal Awards 2021.

The panel of judges will meet early next week over Teams for Judgment Day over the course of which they will debate the merits of companies that closed deals – project finance greenfield and refinance – over the course of the 2021 calendar year.

These sessions tend to be punctuated with emotions that range from genuine admiration for some organisations to gasps of horror at the quality at some submissions, and – much to the chagrin of the moderator – occasional musings as to why their own company had not taken part.

Judges are recused from casting a vote where they are conflicted, as in – lawyers cannot vote in the legal segment and bankers are not allowed to sway the decision in the MLA category – making the IJGlobal Awards what we believe to be the single most peer-review and independent in the infrastructure and energy community.

The judges (in alphabetical order) for Europe and Africa Judgment Day are:


Richard Abadie – a forthright, long-established member of the infrastructure community, Richard is renowned for leading the global PwC infrastructure business as well as having headed up the UK Government’s PPP unit at HM Treasury for a 2-year stint. Originally from South Africa, he has been living in the UK for longer than he likely cares to admit, during which time he has established himself as an international figure in the infra world. Richard advises on commercial and financial aspects of large infrastructure projects, serving as a firmwide relationship partner with Africa & CEE (and previously the Middle East).


Annette Bannister – as managing director and head of European infrastructure and project finance at MetLife Investment Management, Annette (pictured right) has risen steadily over the 6-plus years she has been at the US-based fund to take the top job in Q3 2019. She has deep experience in the infra/energy lending world having worked at SocGen and Barclays before heading down the alternative route. In early 2011 she switched camps to join AMP, followed by a stint at LGIM and then finding a forever home at MetLife where she has built an impressive team.


Jeremy Bayfield – SMTB

Having been head of European specialised finance at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank in London since the summer of 2013, Jeremy has deep experience in the infrastructure community with a pedigree that dates back to 1990. Jeremy has only worked in 3 banks over the years – unlike many who are of a more flighty nature – and has established his credential at each of them. In Deutsche Bank for the first 10 years of his career, Jeremy primarily focused on telecoms and media, spending 5 years in Tokyo. Then at Credit Agricole from 2001 to 2012, he established his project finance credentials, rising to managing director level, heading the structured finance team, again spending 5 years in Tokyo. In his role at SMTB (all of it in London), Jeremy has led the specialised finance division in, comprising teams covering structured finance / asset finance activities such as project finance, aircraft, ship and real estate finance across the EMEA geographical zone.


Hari Chandra – a well-known figure from the infrastructure community. Hari is renowned for having forthright opinions on the market he serves as head of global power, energy and infrastructure as well as international head of investment banking at Cantor Fitzgerald. Over the years, Hari has hit the headlines for a rather spectacular team exit from Jefferies followed by establishing an incredibly strong business at Cantor Fitz.


Swag Ganguly – when it comes to financial advisory, Swag has worked since before the turn of the millennium at 3 leading providers in the infrastructure and energy space. He started at PwC and moved on to Rothschild where he was head of structured finance advisory for 14 years, but for the last 7-plus years he has been at Evercore where he has risen to the role of senior managing director and head of the European debt advisory team. In that time, there’s not much he has not seen and acted on.


Manish Gupta (pictured right) – another regular for the judging panel, Manish secures his place repeatedly on the committee for being one of the best-prepared judges having analysed every submission he has access to (not something we can say about many of his peers!). Manish is a long-established partner at EY, operating out of the London office in the infrastructure corporate finance team, with responsibility for the transport sector. With more than 20 years’ experience in infra financing and M&A, with transactions ranging from project finance, refinancing and complex restructurings… there’s not a lot he hasn’t done.


Emma Haight – when it comes to interesting careers, they don’t come much more interesting than Emma’s. She is head of infrastructure debt for Europe at AMP Capital, but has worked as a lawyer, as a BD manager for a renewables company, then as a project finance banker before joining the Australia-headquartered infrastructure fund where she has risen to partner, heading up the infra debt segment where mezz is flavour of the day.


Phillip Hall (pictured right) – for those who recall the turbulent early days of the global financial crisis, they will well recall Phillip’s journey from being head of infrastructure and project and export finance to a couple of years at HSH Nordbank and then on to MUFG Bank where he now heads the structured finance team. It was something of a slow-moving roller coaster, but resulted in him landing at one of the most active lenders in the infrastructure sector with a big team of experienced bankers under him. In that journey, there is not much that Phillip has not seen and done when it comes to lending and advisory.


Sarah Heavey – a seasoned infrastructure lending professional, Sarah has logged stays at 3 key pre-GFC lenders before landing an MD role at one of Canada’s leading banks. The early days saw a start at AIB, followed by (what at the time seemed an inevitably career move) more than 4 years at RBS and then rode the GFC storm with Dexia. She spun out of that to join the Laurie Mahon team at CIBC as London-based managing director and head of project finance and infrastructure corporate banking and has never looked back.


Layth Irani – an infrastructure banker who needs no introduction whatsoever… but will receive one all the same. Layth has been a mainstay of the IJGlobal Awards judging team for as long as this infra hack can recall. There are few people in the market with his depth of experience and exposure to a vast range of transactions across the globe. He has been at SMBC since before the millennium and has risen to the position of head of infrastructure, transport and Islamic Finance at the Japanese bank covering the entire EMEA region.


Olusola Lawson – having been appointed co-managing director at African Infrastructure Investment Managers in August 2020 and having more than 16 years of corporate finance and infrastructure equity investing experience across European and African markets, Olusola is ideally qualified to judge this region. 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 Macquarie, Olusola worked at PwC in London where his focus was on transaction advisory services to a primarily private equity client base.


David Lee – there are few lawyers with whom IJ has a longer and stronger relationship than it has with David at Allen & Overy. You know you’re getting a bit long in the tooth when you start measuring work friendships by decades (as stands true with a good few on this panel) and David sits comfortably in this group. He is a dyed-in-the-wool A&O lawyer with a couple of years spent on secondment to HM Treasury (presumably to enjoy a different kind of madness). As with so many of his colleagues, David has worked on the biggest and brightest transactions over the years and likely has the scars to prove it.


Sarah Roberts (pictured right) – one of the insurance industry’s foremost experts in PPP, Sarah is also one of the few female insurance advisers in the infrastructure industry in North America – though her remit increasingly takes in Europe and she now lives in Austria. At INTECH Risk Management, she brings a wealth of understanding of the risks faced by lenders and stakeholders on infra / energy transactions. Sarah worked on Canada’s first P3 projects and her experience in project finance and construction provided a natural transition into PPP. Since then, she has been involved with designing and implementing insurance specifications in all major agreements forming part of large projects.


Matt Toolan – another well-known figure from the London infrastructure lending scene, Matt kept the community guessing during the global financial crisis having joined AIB as its head of UK infrastructure in December 2007… a challenging time for Irish lenders. However, he bucked the trend by building a strong team of established bankers, carving a niche for the bank which has grown over the intervening years to play an impressive role in today’s lending market.


Victoria Westcott (pictured right) – a lawyer with impressive language skills, Victoria operates out of Paris as head of project finance and co-head of Africa business team at Reed Smith. She has been at Reed Smith for the past 4 years, but built her reputation over 17 years at White & Case. Victoria is dual-qualified practicing under English law and French law and 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. She specialises in particular on transport and social infrastructure projects, renewable and conventional energy projects and water projects of all types.