Meet the Team

At the Ocean Life Foundation, we know it takes initiative, determination, persistence and resilience to invoke real and lasting change.  Since our founding in 2020, we have been determined to make a material contribution to our society and the challenges we face due to climate change. We support the development of engineering solutions that work with nature for the benefit of all living creatures.

With Board Members from all corners of the Earth, each with a unique set of life experiences and skill-sets, we collectively strive that the Foundation will meet its stated objectives in order to protect and preserve some of the world's most fragile eco-systems.

Michael McDowell

Founder & Chairman

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Mike was born & educated in Australia. He obtained a BSc in Physics and Mathematics from the University of New South Wales, a Bachelor of Economics from the Australian National University and an MSc in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Swinburne University.

 

His career began on MacQuarie Island as a geophysicist with an Australian expedition in 1971.  He would go on to found Quark Expeditions and pioneer tourism to the polar regions on Russian icebreakers. In the late 1990s, he sold Quark in order to focus on new ventures in space travel and deep ocean exploration. He co-founded and sat on the board of SpaceAdventures.com for 18 years, a company which pioneered space travel to the International Space Station.

In addition, Mike founded and operated Deep Ocean Expeditions, a company which organised and coordinated dive expeditions to the Titanic, the Bismarck, and the hydrothermal vent areas in the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans.

 

Mike also participated in James Cameron’s DeepSeaChallenge.com expedition by providing vessel logistics for the project.  Mike continues to coordinate and operate expeditions into the interior of Antarctica through his co-ownership of the company Antarctic Expeditions & Logistics, LLC.

Chris Haver

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Chris Haver, from Phoenix, Arizona, attended the University of Southern California and San Diego State University and holds a BSc in Finance. He is the founder of H4 Capital Partners, a US-based private equity firm that invests in sustainable projects in the developing world, specifically focused on South East Asia and Africa.

 

H4 Capital Partners has invested in numerous clean energy and sustainability companies seeking to reduce the cost of electricity, food and forestry products.  H4 Capital is currently working to provide 1 million families in Mozambique with electricity using PV/Charger/Battery on a PAYGO model in collaboration with Solar-Works Mozambique to address the nearly 70% of the population lacking grid connectivity.  Chris is life long conservationist and explorer. 

 

He was the second person and first American to climb and ski the Seven Summits, dove to RMS Titanic in Russian submersibles and completed a First Ascent in Antarctica in 2016.  He's also shareholder in Maritime Research and Recovery, a historic shipwreck recovery company founded by Mike McDowell and Dan Porter.

Harald van Hoeken

Founder & Chief Operating Officer

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Harald van Hoeken is from the Netherlands and obtained Bachelor’s of Science degrees in both Aerospace Engineering and Ocean Engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology. 

 

During the course of 2019, Harald developed the idea for the Ocean Life Foundation with Haver and McDowell in order to provide funding to ocean-based renewable energy technologies for protecting coral reefs and their complex marine eco systems using low-volt electric fields. 

 

His career started working offshore on seismic acquisition vessels from a US consultancy firm and after 2 years took on the responsibility for business development for Europe, Africa and Asia. In 1997 he moved to Lagos, Nigeria and set-up the office for a Norwegian marine seismic contractor, taking responsibility for business development and sales for all of West Africa. In total, he has 25 years’ experience in West Africa in oil & gas investments, oil field exploration and production services and mining.

 

He is the founder and CEO of Precision Energy Group, a natural resources and renewable energy advisory company. Precision Energy and partners Equinox Group Ltd are currently focused on building a portfolio of assets in Angola in oil & gas, mining, agriculture, renewable energy and power that will exceed $4B in aggregate investment.

David Wotherspoon

Technology Director

David Wotherspoon, Australian, was Project Manager and Submersible Operations Director on the DeepSeaChallenge.com expedition to the deepest part of the Mariana Trench led by film director James Cameron. Prior to that, he worked as a senior consultant for Phaze Zero, and before that he had a varied military career.

 

After enlisting in the Corps of Royal Engineers in 1983, he trained as a mechanical engineer and military diving supervisor and saw active service in Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, and Afghanistan. Wotherspoon enlisted in the Australian Defence Force in January 2007, where he served as a development officer in the Special Operations Command (SOCOMD). During this period, he project-managed a number of technically challenging projects. He ended his military career in January 2010 before joining the expedition on loan. He was born in Oban, Scotland, in 1967.

Anne Lauvergeon

Director

Anne Lauvergeon is Founder and CEO of A.L.P an advisory and investments company. ALP supports large corporate groups, funds, investors and start-ups for the acceleration and success of their industrial or innovation projects. She is Chairman of the Board of Sigfox. She was CEO of AREVA from July 2001 to June 2011, and Chairman and CEO of AREVA NC from June 1999 to June 2011. 


In 1997, Ms Lauvergeon worked at ALCATEL as Senior Executive Vice President, member of the Executive Committee, in charge of International business and industrial holdings. From 1995 to 1997 she was Partner of Lazard Frères & Cie. From 1990 to 1995 she worked for the French President’s office, in charge of international economy and foreign trade missions in 1990, then Deputy Chief of Staff and Personal Representative to the French President, in charge of the G7/G8 Summits’ from 1991. 

 

Anne Lauvergeon began her career in 1983 in the steel industry, at Usinor, before working on nuclear & chemical safety issues in Europe at the French Atomic Energy Commission. Anne Lauvergeon is a graduate of the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the French National School of Mining Engineer. She holds an advanced degree in Physics & Chemistry. 


Mrs Lauvergeon is Doctor Honoris Causa of the Imperial College, London (2008), Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK 2011) and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Belgium (2012). 
Ranked twice by Time Magazine amongst 100 most influential people in the world; ranked by Forbes (Fortune Global), the Financial Times as one of the most powerful and influential women in Europe and in the world.

Douglas Riboud

Director

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Born in Switzerland in 1977, Douglas Riboud is the co-founder and co-chairman of Harmless Harvest, a natural foods trailblazer that swiftly led the industry toward elevated levels of sourcing, manufacturing and social progress. The company has now reached $100m+ in sales of its flagship coconut water and is widely recognized as a mass market hit brand with iconic status in the next wave food and beverage.

 

Riboud also cofounded and is the CEO of Goodfish, his second venture with Harmless Harvest co-founder Justin Guilbert. The two entrepreneurs are aiming to apply their passion, commitment, expertise and learnings to positively contribute to solving the seafood conundrum. A major keystone to healthier people, stronger communities and a thriving wilderness for all to share.

 

Riboud is an active investor supporting progressive business models in the CPG, healthcare and education industries.

 

Riboud sits on various boards and lives with his 3 kids and his wife in Aspen, Colorado

Riboud holds an MBA from Insead and a BA form Boston University.

François Chateau

General Counsel & Compliance Director

François Chateau is a partner in Dentons' New York office. He was previously global vice chairman of Dentons and chairman of the global board of legacy firm Salans, which he helped lead through the combination that created Dentons.

François is engaged in the representation of French and other European companies in the US, as well as multinational companies globally. He primarily represents companies and individuals in the luxury, fashion and beauty industries and leads this Global Practice. He is also head of Dentons’ French desk, a special cross-border practice group composed of bilingual, French-speaking lawyers in many Dentons' offices around the world.


As a successful entrepreneur, François has extensive experience in contract negotiations, intellectual property issues, international tax planning, joint ventures, licensing and distributions agreements, venture capital and venture development.


In addition to such transnational work, François acts as an adviser to wealthy multinational families and individuals in their business affairs and as trustee for family trusts.  François is a dual French and US citizen. He is very active in the French-American community in the US and is a Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite (France)

Dan Millison

Director, Asia Pacific

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Dan Millison is the Manager of Transcendergy L.L.C., a private consultancy established in 2008 to provide sustainable infrastructure solutions. He holds a M.S. in Civil Engineering (1986) and a B.A. in Geological Sciences (1981), both from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

 

He has helped mobilize well over $10 billion investment in energy and transport infrastructure in developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including more than $1 billion of co-financing from the Clean Technology Fund, the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program, and the Green Climate Fund. He was formerly a senior energy specialist at Asian Development Bank, and previously worked in the environmental services and oil and gas industries.

Dr. Dimitar Ivanov

Director

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Dimitar Ivanov is Managing Director - Europe of Gerken Capital Associates, a multinational investment management firm and Senior Advisor to the Board of Directors since 2008. 

 

Since 1980, he was Economic Advisor to the UN Industrial Development Organization and in this capacity, he has advised the Governments of Moldova, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine. 

 

1985-1991 served as Economic Advisor to the State Council of Bulgaria

 

In 1990, he was honorary guest of the Council of the Economic Advisors of President George Bush Sr. His works on the results of the reforms in the emerging markets and expertise are used by the IMF, the World Bank, and the IFC.

 

2002-2007, Dimitar served as Senior Economic Advisor to the President of the Republic of Bulgaria.

1995-2002  acted as Strategic Advisor to Bank Austria.

 

He has published six books and more than 300 papers,

 

Dr. Ivanov received his Ph.D. in Economics and attended the senior doctoral program at the prestigious Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris

 

Dimitar is recipient of the Golden Order of the State Council of Bulgaria for his academic achievements in the development of the national economy.

 

Since 2017 he is serving as a Global Ambassador and Member of the Council of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

 

Dimitar speaks fluent English, French, Russian, Bulgarian, and Serb-Croat. He resides with his family in London since 1991.

©2020 by Ocean Life Foundation.