Rabobank executive Lissy Smit has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer at Aqua-Spark, the Netherlands-based fund set up to invest in sustainable, innovative aquaculture.
Smit is currently Head of Credit Approvals at Rabobank Group, and will take up her new post on 1 September.
Mike Velings and Amy Novogratz, co-founders of Aqua-Spark, said: “Lissy Smit’s expertise and track record as a change-maker within Rabobank, one of the largest financiers of the seafood industry, is what we feel Aqua-Spark needs to professionalize further and to expand to this next level.
“Lissy has successfully built and led global teams within Rabobank, working in Hong Kong, New York, London, and the Netherlands while maintaining a very entrepreneurial spirit within the bank’s existing system. We’ve been impressed by her leadership style and ability to create open environments that facilitate change and development to allow ideas, people, teams, and companies to flourish.”
Aqua-Spark doubled its assets under management during 2021, and the fund now accounts for more than €300m (£256m). The fund aims to increase the value of Aqua-Spark’s portfolio to €3bn-5bn (£2.54bn-£4.2bn) by 2030.
Smit said: “I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity to lead Aqua-Spark’s amazingly talented team. Developing a sustainable food value chain is a passion of mine, so I look forward to supporting and growing innovative companies that provide solutions to some of the biggest challenges in aquaculture while creating value for investors.”