Tellef Thorleifsson – Chief Executive Officer
Tellef Thorleifsson has been CEO of Norfund since Autumn 2018. Prior to Norfund, he was a co-founder and managing partner of Northzone. Thorleifsson was instrumental in building Northzone to become a leading international venture fund. Since inception in 1996 it has raised more than EUR 1.5 billion through nine funds and invested in more than 130 companies. Thorleifsson is also a co-founder of the Voxtra Foundation which has been making targeted investments and grants within agribusiness in East Africa. Thorleifsson has held several directorships.
Fride Andrea Hærem – Chief Financial Risk Officer & Head of HR
Fride Andrea Hærem took the position as CFRO and Head of HR in Norfund in 2021. Before joining Norfund, she was EVP for HR, Marketing and Communication, IT and Strategy at Norconsult. She has more than 10 years of experience in HR directorship roles and has held several finance manager positions, including at Posten and Cermaq. She holds a Master of Management with a specialisation in international business leadership from BI Norwegian Business School.
Thomas Fjeld Heltne – Executive Vice President, General Counsel
Thomas Fjeld Heltne took the position as General Counsel in Norfund in 2019. Before joining Norfund, he was Director M&A at Norsk Hydro. Heltne has throughout his career worked with transactions, financing and international projects, both from the legal and commercial side. He holds a degree in law from Norway as well as a Master of Laws from LSE and Corporate Finance from the Norwegian School of Management. Heltne has been member of and observer to boards of Norwegian industrial companies and served on the Trade Policy Panel for the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO).
Ylva Lindberg – Executive Vice President, Strategy & Communication
Prior to joining Norfund, Ylva was founding partner of SIGLA, a boutique consultancy on sustainability and business, for 13 years. She has worked with sustainable and impact investments for almost 20 years and has experience with asset management and consumer goods. Ylva is a senior associate of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, board member of Lærdal Medical and member of the Responsible Investment Advisory Council of BMO Global Asset Management.
Erik Sandersen – Executive Vice President, Financial Institutions
Erik joined Norfund in 2014 and has represented Norfund on several boards of banks and microfinance institutions. He is currently a board member of the South Africa-based bank investment firm Arise and of the Nordic Microfinance Initiative. Prior to joining Norfund, Erik worked for 10 years as a co-founder and partner in a venture capital firm in the Nordic region. He has also worked as an executive in the IT sector and for the Boston Consulting Group in London and Oslo. He holds a master’s degree in engineering from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and an MBA from Stanford University.
Mark Davis – Executive Vice President, Clean Energy
Mark has worked extensively with renewable energy investments, regulation and policy in developing countries, with a focus on Africa. Prior to joining Norfund he was a partner at ECON Analysis, and previously was Postgraduate Director at the Energy & Development Research Centre, University of Cape Town. He holds a PhD in energy economics from the University of Sussex, and earlier degrees in mathematics and applied science from the University of Cape Town.
Ellen Cathrine Rasmussen – Executive Vice President, Green Infrastructure and Scalable Enterprises
Ellen Cathrine Rasmussen joined Norfund as EVP for Scalable Enterprises in March 2020. In 2021 she also took on the role of EVP for Green Infrastructure. Prior to Norfund, Ellen held several senior positions at Yara, the world’s leading fertilizer company. Her last position in Yara was as VP of Sustainability Programs and Global Projects. Prior to that, she was country manager for the Ivory Coast. Earlier in her career Ellen spent four years as EVP for Agrinos, an international agriculture input provider, responsible for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. Ellen has also had various management positions at Norsk Hydro and served as a board member for SINTEF. She studied economics in Norway and France.
Board of Directors
The Board ensures that the Fund operates in accordance with the Norfund Act of 1997 and the Fund’s statutes. The Board defines Norfund’s strategy and approves individual investments exceeding specified thresholds. Other investment decisions are delegated to the CEO.
Norfund’s Board of Directors are appointed by the General Assembly. The General Assembly is constituted by the Norwegian Minister of International Development who governs the state’s ownership in Norfund.
Norfund has four sector based investment departments, where they follow projects through all the phases of the investment process. This includes dedicated employees dealing with Environmental and Social issues (E&S).
The Strategy and Communication department at Norfund leads strategy development and implementation, analyses development effects and additionality. The department also works with gender, media, and climate. Finally, they manage stakeholder relations and communication, as well as dialogue with Norfund’s owner, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Finance, IT, Risk and HR department is responsible for Norfund’s accounts, financial analysis and portfolio reporting, as well as for recruitment, skills and staff development. This department is also responsible for Enterprise Risk Management, IT, the Business Support scheme and the Project Development and Risk Mitigation Facility.
The Legal department is responsible for legal and compliance issues.
Norfund’s Investment Committee (IC) is important, both for quality assurance and for strengthening decision-making. While the CEO/Management Team decide on investments up to USD 4 million, the IC is mandated to decide on investments between USD 4-15 million. The IC also reviews investment proposals exceeding USD 15 million; these proposals are given final approval by the Board of Directors.