Board of Directors

Executive Chairman & Director

Andrew Gray

Andrew Gray is Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors for Ascender, and founding-Managing Director of Potentia. He also serves as non-executive director of TIG and V8 Supercars, and is on the board of Hit100, an emerging diabetes management company. Prior to Potentia, he was Managing Director at Archer Capital, where he led the acquisition and subsequent sale of MYOB, Archer Capitals most successful investment, and the acquisition of V8 Supercars. Before joining Archer, he was a Partner at Francisco Partners — a $5bn private equity manager focused on technology companies, where he led numerous transactions including the Australian P2P of Mincom, and the divisional purchase of Aderant from Solution6. He has also led many deals in the US and Europe including CMAC Micro Technology, Ex Libris, and Endeavor Systems. Prior to Francisco Partners, Andrew co-founded and was COO of software firm Abilizer Solutions which was ultimately sold to BEA. Andrew began his private equity career as a principal at Genstar Capital and early in his career, Andrew was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, and an investment banker at James D. Wolfensohn in New York. Andrew has a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering (first class honors) from Sydney University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Executive Director

Michael McNamara

Michael is Director and SVP of M&A of Ascender and has been an Investment Director at Potentia since January 2015. Prior to Potentia, Michael was an Investment Manager at Archer Capital for three years where he was involved in a number of successful transactions including Allity Aged Care (previously Lend Lease Primelife), the bolt-on acquisition of ECH Aged Care and the sale of Ausfuel. Prior to joining Archer, Michael was Associate Director at UBS Investment Bank in Sydney where he advised on over $5bn of transactions in the General Industrials, Infrastructure and Utilities sectors. Michael holds a Bachelor of Commerce (First Class Honours and Valedictorian) and a Bachelor of Laws (Distinction) from the University of Western Australia. Michael also plays an active role in the company as the General Manager for Growth & Strategy.


Rishabh Mehrotra

Rishabh is Board Director of Ascender since the acquisition in May 2015 by Private Equity firm Potentia, of which he is also Managing Director. Rishabh has over 20 years’ executive and board experience spanning the private equity, healthcare, software and consulting industries. During his time at SHPS, Rishabh led the sale of their HR Outsourcing business to ADP, in addition to the sale of Landacorp to EXL Services. Prior to joining SHPS, Rishabh was co-founder and CEO of Abilizer Solutions, Inc., a software firm in San Francisco (sold to BEA/Oracle). Rishabh is a graduate of Tufts University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Quantitative Economics, and holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.


Adrian MacKenzie

Adrian MacKenzie is a Director on the Board of Ascender, and founder of Five V Capital, where he has made several successful investments in both established and venture capital businesses. His recent success includes the acquisition of Ascender, becoming the major shareholder in Madman Film & Entertainment, and the successful exit of his investment in Mysale, where he remains a director. His venture capital investments include Canva, Standard Media Index, ImageBrief and Parcelpoint. Prior to Five V Capital, Adrian was Managing Partner and board member at private equity firm CVC Capital Partners (London), where he worked on numerous transactions before moving to Hong Kong to help establish the Asia Pacific business, and then to Sydney to open the Australian office. During this time, he completed many significant transactions including Pacific Brands, Tech Pacific, Affinity Healthcare and Nine Entertainment. Having become a Managing Partner and board member, Adrian left CVC after 17 years in 2012. Adrian’s career began in corporate finance with J. Henry Schroder Wagg & Co Ltd, in the London and New York offices. Adrian holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in engineering and economics.

Executive Leadership Team


Andrew Wilson

Andrew is the Chief Executive Officer of Ascender. Prior to his appointment, Andrew was the Head of Strategy and had been instrumental in transforming customer satisfaction and experience levels. He has extensive strategy experience including as General Manager of Strategy, Planning and Innovation at Coca-Cola Amatil and, prior to that, as a management consultant with Bain & Company. Andrew is also a member of the Board of ReachOut Australia and holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours & University Medal) from the University of Sydney and a Masters of Business Administration (Distinction) from London Business School.


Neil Thompson

Neil is the Chief Financial Officer of Ascender. He comes with over 30 years of Strategic and Senior Finance experience. Prior to joining Ascender, Neil has held a number of Senior Corporate Finance Executive roles in both ASX listed and private equity backed companies. Most recently he has applied his skills in the arts sector as one of the founders and Executive Chairman of the Australian World Orchestra. Neil has a strong background in financial reporting, mergers and acquisitions, strategic planning, market analysis, budgeting and forecasting, capital management funding, treasury and cash management. He holds a Bachelor of Economics from La Trobe University.

General Counsel

Tracey Peverell

Tracey Peverell is the General Counsel of Ascender. With experience in both private and in-house law practice, Tracey’s senior lawyer roles have focussed on operational compliance issues, Global IT Services, logistics, financial services, and large mergers & acquisitions transactions. She has implemented compliance programs through effective engagement of stakeholder management and the broader network, engaging with all levels of personnel from Senior Stakeholders to mentoring junior staff to facilitate the best outcome of the business. Tracey has an LLB from University of Sydney and is admitted to practice in both Australia and the United Kingdom.

General Manager,
People & Culture

Kelly McFadden

Kelly is the General Manager of People & Culture in Ascender. With 15+ years HR leadership and change management experience, she has successfully led mergers and acquisitions integrations, organisation design and cultural transformation initiatives. Prior to Ascender, she was the Director of Haematology and Oncology business unit at Amgen Australia, with leadership roles in executing HR strategies to drive profitability and increase employee engagement. Kelly has a Masters of Business Administration from the University of New England, Human Resources Management in Asia certificate from INSEAD and has completed the Foundations of Directors course. She is currently a member of the Australia Institute of Company Directors.

General Manager,
ANZ Cloud Services

Richard Breden

Richard is the General Manager for ANZ Cloud Services at Ascender. He has an extensive background in Workplace Relations, HR and HR Tech, with his most recent role as Chief Customer and Operating Officer from Flare where he was responsible for launching their payroll offering over the last 18 months. Prior to Flare, he founded enableHR, a cloud-based, which he grew to over 8,000 customers across ANZ. Prior to that, he was with a leading specialist Workplace Law firm and held a number of roles in corporate affairs along with pursuing other entrepreneurial ventures. Richard has a Bachelor of Commerce (Employment Law and Industrial Relations) and an MBA from Macquarie Graduate School of Management.

General Manager,
Public & Enterprise Services

Sandy Forrest

Sandy is the General Manager of ANZ Public & Enterprise Services at Ascender. Sandy possesses 20+ years expertise in the HR and Payroll space, across both operational and leadership positions. Prior to joining Ascender, he worked with organisations such as Western Australian Education and Western Australia Police agencies. Sandy has a strong track record in ensuring the success and satisfaction of Ascender clients, through his effective delivery of project implementation and consulting. Sandy holds a Masters of Business from the University of Western Australia.

General Manager,
Japan Services

Brian Tsai

Brian is the General Manager of Japan Services at Ascender. He joined Ascender from Workcloud Inc, Ascender’s Payroll/Time and Leave/HRIS platform in Japan, which he started in 2014. Brian’s strength is in the web technology arena, and he has been an active executive in the IT startup space in Japan since 2000. Prior to that, Brian has had other careers as an investment banker in Tokyo/Hong Kong, as well as international sales at Mitsubishi Corporation. He holds a Chemical Engineering degree from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.

General Manager,
Asia Services

Inna Wahlberg

Inna is the General Manager of Asia Services at Ascender. She has extensive regional experience in senior strategic and commercial technical roles, with her most recent role managing SAP applications for BHP. Inna led many highly complex multi-regional implementation of robust process optimisation and compliance within the enterprise space. Inna holds a Masters of Science (Economics) from the Hanken Swedish School of Economics in Helsinki.

CEO, PeopleStreme

Lyle Potgieter

Lyle has over 15 years’ experience in the Human Capital Management and Human Resources space, and is a founding member and CEO of PeopleStreme which was acquired by Ascender in October 2018. Prior to PeopleStreme, Lyle established an information technology business that was grown from 2 people to 600 people with 22 offices in the Asia Pacific region. This business was sold to an overseas listed company who in turn sold the organisation to IBM Australia for $80+ million. Considered a leader in the SAAS industry, Lyle strives to use his knowledge and experience to assist organisation’s to achieve higher returns from their human capital.

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