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Former Tesla business leader to drive South East Water forward

South East Water has announced former Tesla Global Head of Business Development and Industrial Product, Lara Olsen as its new Managing Director.

Olsen was appointed following an extensive recruitment process and will take up the position on 17 February.

Lara Olsen

Prior to joining the Victorian water sector, Olsen was based in the United States (US), where she was responsible for scoping and launching Tesla’s next generation of commercial business models and industrial products.

Before this, she led the Business Development and Industrial Product team for Tesla Australia, including big battery projects in South Australia and Victoria.

Olsen has extensive experience in the energy sector, with roles as head of strategy for Citipower, PowerCor and for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). She also co-founded Billcap, a platform that provides data and insights to energy retailers and their customers to manage their usage and bills.

South East Water Chair Lucia Cade said the board felt Olsen had the right skills to lead the next phase of the utility’s evolution.

“Lara has an impressive record as a strategic leader with the ability to accommodate the needs of multiple stakeholders and to create an environment where teams can innovate and people achieve their maximum potential,” Cade said.

“The board was particularly impressed with Lara’s strong focus on customers and her track record in developing and implementing strategy and initiating and launching new technologies and services, which will position South East Water for success as we transform the way we operate to deal with climate change and population growth.”  

Olsen said she was excited to join South East Water, which has a range of forward-thinking projects underway, such as the Aquarevo and Fishermans Bend developments.

“I’ve been impressed with South East Water’s commitment to its customers, staff and the environment and I look forward to joining the organisation in this next phase of delivery and innovation,” she said.

Olsen will take over from Phil Johnson, who has been acting Managing Director following the departure of Terri Benson.