Mar 18, 2013

The Power Index: carbon cutters, Oliver Yates at #4

Oliver Yates is the ex-Macquarie banker who turned his back on a lucrative career to head up the government's controversial (and possibly short-lived) green bank. Why did this "maverick" do it -- and what will he do with $10 billion of your money?

Cathy Alexander — Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

Cathy Alexander

Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

Banking chief Oliver Yates seems horrified to be asked if he is a “greenie”.


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11 thoughts on “The Power Index: carbon cutters, Oliver Yates at #4

  1. Achmed

    Clean Energy Finance Corporation is “giant slush fund”? And what will Abbott’s Direct Action plan to give the polluters taxpayer money from the budget be called?

    Renewable energy target was first set by Howard in 2001. Aust is now around the 30% mark, in comparison Norway is around 60%.

  2. Mike Flanagan

    Thanks Cathy A for this series.
    One would have thought that doing ‘some good’ whilst being any leader in what ever sphere should be an imperative or basic modus operandi rather than an optional extra that offers a ‘bonus’.

  3. Mark Duffett

    “lives in Melbourne and commutes to CEFC headquarters in Sydney”

    Say what?

    I don’t care how many billions of winner-picking taxpayer dollars he controls, there’s no way anyone with such a carbon-profligate modus operandi deserves to be on any list of carbon cutters, let alone no. 4.

  4. Cathy Alexander

    Interesting point Achmed, but not sure where you got your numbers from. Renewables generated 4.3% of Australia’s energy last year (, or 10% of Australia’s electricity generation. The RET will see 20-25% of electricity from renewable sources in 2020. Does Norway have lots of hydro?

  5. Achmed

    That was meant to 3%. and yes, Norway have lots of hydro

  6. bjb

    Climate industry analyst Rob Fowler welcomed the arrival of this mainstream banker: “I think it’s important people from the real world get more and more involved in this area.”

    – and why would that person be any more competent than someone from the public service. It’s nonsense to suggest that someone with ‘real world’ experience would be any better than one of the many, many highly skilled people in the senior ranks of the public service. Indeed, what is an ex-Macquarie banker likely to be best at ? The whole culture of merchant banking is to maximise one’s own personal position. I would guess that Mr Yates and his ilk spent rather less time thinking out the return the shareholders of Mac Bank were getting as a result of his efforts, than he though about his own remuneration. In fact, probably the only thing worse than an ex high flying banker to be in charge would be an ex politician.

  7. Coaltopia

    It ain’t easy being green if you’ve been tarred with the Linc Energy brush, but it seems like he’s on a tunnel to Damascus which won’t have much light at the end of it.

  8. Cathy Alexander

    Mark, for what it’s worth, apparently the CEFC board adopted a formal policy of tele and video conferencing last week. I’m not sure if this will assuage your concerns …

  9. dazza

    Considering its the bankers who are to blame for GFC, manipulating the markets, interest rate derivatives, Libor scandal, Collusion between wall street and Capitol hill in US! Bank of England admits loss of income caused by banks is as bad as World War II, fraudulent and criminal activities with south American drug money etc.
    These are the people still in charge of the system and were suppose to trust them? However, I take my hat of to him for realising it was the perfect time to get out.

  10. Mark Duffett

    Depends whether the ‘formal policy’ actually applies to the CEO’s lifestyle – he wouldn’t be the first CEO to be practically exempt from such things. And even if it does, I’m not sure how ideal it is to have a Charlie-like boss who only ever appears to his employees as a disembodied voice or head on a screen.

    I still find the arrangement incongruous in the extreme, and bemusing that more hasn’t been made of it.

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