Louise Pesce: A Pioneering Leader in Project Finance & Renewable Energy

The Most Successful Women in Business to Follow in 2024

Nurturing Talent & Inspiring the Next Generation

Embarking on a dynamic journey through the heart of North America’s power and energy landscape, Louise Pesce, Managing Director, Project Finance Americas at MUFG, stands as the visionary architect behind the origination and structuring of transformative transactions for MUFG.

With a formidable track record spanning 16 years at MUFG, Louise has orchestrated over 200 financings that have propelled the realms of energy transition, transmission, renewable, and thermal power projects into new frontiers. Her influence extends across diverse financial markets, from bank and private placement to bonds and institutional term loan B markets.

In the realm of project finance, Louise is a luminary with an impressive 35-year career, with an extraordinary focus on energy, spanning 29 years. Recognized as the Project Finance Banker of the Year by Power Finance & Risk in 2018, she stands as a testament to unparalleled expertise and leadership.

Louise’s impact reverberates globally, having advised and executed numerous high-profile project finance transactions in the U.S., Europe and Asia. From power generation and energy storage to oil and gas, telecom, transportation, and infrastructure sectors, she has left an indelible mark on the financial landscapes across continents.

Join us as we unravel the captivating narrative of Louise Pesce’s extraordinary career, where each chapter unfolds as a testament to her unwavering commitment to shaping the future of energy and project finance.

Charting an Unconventional Path to Career Success

Embarking on an unconventional career trajectory by today’s standards, Louise’s professional journey unfolded uniquely. Following boarding school, she ventured into the corporate realm by applying to various firms in the UK that offered management training programs. Lloyds Bank, a prominent financial institution, provided her with a distinctive opportunity – one day off per week to pursue professional banking exams while gaining invaluable on-the-job training in the UK banking sector.

Kicking off her career through Lloyds Bank’s rigorous management training program straight out of high school, Louise’s qualification for the program involved a series of assessments, including interviews, IQ tests, personality evaluations, and exam grades. Continuing her education sponsored by Lloyds, she delved into core banking skills encompassing credit and lending, risk management, and management and leadership under the Chartered Banker Institute platform.

Louise’s pivot into financing energy projects coincided with the deregulation of the UK power sector in the 1990s, and a move to the Project Finance team at Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan in London, marking the inception of her enduring involvement in the sector. Louise’s early career experiences resonate with diverse ventures, including involvement in the construction of the Eurotunnel and financing projects in the oil and gas sector. Engaging in intriguing site visits, such as an oil rig in Norway and ‘riding’ a tunnel boring machine underground, she navigated these environments as the sole woman.

A pivotal moment arrived when she embarked on a six-month rotation to the United States and chose to make New York her permanent base, setting the stage for the next chapter in her remarkable career.

Before joining MUFG’s ranks in 2007, Louise served as the CFO of two pioneering telecommunications startups in New York. Her illustrious journey includes eight impactful years at CIBC World Markets in New York and London, where she held the position of Managing Director of Project Finance.

Unlocking the World of MUFG: A Financial Powerhouse

MUFG stands as one of the world’s preeminent financial groups, boasting over 360 years of history and a global network spanning more than 40 countries. With headquarters in Tokyo, the Group, comprised of nearly 120,000 employees, offers a diverse array of services, including commercial banking, trust banking, securities, credit cards, consumer finance, asset management, and leasing.

Operating under the mantra of “being the world’s most trusted financial group,” MUFG trades on the Tokyo, Nagoya, and New York stock exchanges, embodying a commitment to serving society and fostering shared, sustainable growth. In the Americas, MUFG’s operations, including its offices in the U.S., Latin America, and Canada, are primarily organized under MUFG Bank, Ltd.

The focus lies on Global Corporate and Investment Banking, Japanese Corporate Banking, and Global Markets, establishing MUFG as one of the largest foreign banking organizations in the Americas. For a comprehensive look at locations, banking capabilities, services, career opportunities, and more, visit www.mufgamericas.com.

Navigating Financial Horizons with MUFG

Having forged a remarkable path in the project finance landscape, Louise’s journey with MUFG began in 2007. Coming from a background at CIBC, a project finance leader in the 1990s, and a subsequent venture into the telecommunications start-up space as Louise sought new challenges after two decades in banking. However, her attraction to the dynamic deal process, marked by excitement and a profound sense of accomplishment upon deal closure, led her back in to Banking and a strategic move to join MUFG.

As an MD, Louise leads a team responsible for marketing, structuring, executing, and closing financing for renewable energy projects, including wind, solar, battery storage, as well as transitional gas-fired plants. Their client portfolio spans independent power companies, private equity and infrastructure funds actively involved in owning and developing generating capacity across the U.S.

Valuing her team’s contributions, Louise provides them with considerable latitude to stretch their skills and capabilities. She is deeply committed to offering coaching and fostering an environment that encourages both learning from experience and constant innovation within the realm of finance.

Navigating the Path to Leadership Success

Embarking on the challenging road to company leadership, Louise shares her dynamic perspective on the journey so far: “Exciting, rewarding – no two deals are the same. I cover really awesome clients who I have developed strong relationships with, and they’re repeat customers; you build a trusted bond with them.”

In her narrative, Louise emphasizes the significance of collaboration and forming deal teams for every transaction, both within her department and cross-functionally. She describes the process as a jigsaw puzzle, where aligning all the pieces is essential. Leveraging the global platform and experience of MUFG, particularly its leadership in offshore wind, hydrogen and alternative fuels in Europe and Asia, adds another layer to the strategic approach.

Louise’s story unveils a resilient approach to challenges, with a commitment to continuous improvement and an unwavering focus on client-centric principles. “Being Client Centric is one of our core principles at MUFG. Our project finance group is a leader in renewables financing and has been for the last 14 years – in industry league tables, we have been #1 in the Americas in terms of the number of deals done and dollars lent,” she states.

Reflecting on the roadblocks that molded her professional journey, Louise recounts the challenges of being a young woman in the energy industry during the 1980s. She highlights the importance of perseverance, respect for contributions over hierarchy, and the clarity and conciseness that define her communication style. “If I have a roadblock, I look for a way around it or find a rung to start the progress over it. This is both internally and externally for clients. Learning from my mistakes, continually pushing myself to do things better,” she reflects.

Shaping Leaders and Pioneering the Future

Reflecting on her greatest achievement as a leader, Louise underscores the profound satisfaction derived from developing successors and nurturing the leaders of tomorrow. One notable team member, who joined the firm at the same time as Louise, has ascended to prominence in the project financing realm, earning recognition from both peers and clients, culminating in a recent promotion to lead his own team.

In the realm of groundbreaking deals, Louise proudly recounts her involvement in the first utility-scale offshore wind deal with Vineyard Wind and the transformative Champlain Hudson Power Express Transmission deal, which will bring hydro power from Canada to New York.

Addressing the challenges faced as a woman in leadership, Louise shares a resolute perspective shaped by her status and extensive experience in the industry. Relocating from Europe to the U.S. proved beneficial, and the supportiveness of MUFG, along with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, and the presence of other women leaders within the organization, has been instrumental.

Collaboration is a cornerstone of Louise’s approach, evident in her informal network of senior women across various banks and involvement in industry groups such as “Kick Ass Women in Renewable Energy” (KWIRE). KWIRE serves as a dynamic forum for the exchange of ideas and discussions on current energy trends, featuring guest speakers and fostering a sense of community among women in the renewable energy sector.

Louise outlines the vision for the future of project financing at MUFG, emphasizing the global importance of the sector and the continued focus on energy transition and infrastructure development. Beyond renewable projects, the vision extends to encompass diverse sectors, including carbon capture, hydrogen and data centers.

Acknowledging the competitive landscape, Louise emphasizes the significance of collaboration alongside competition, particularly in the face of large-scale transactions. Regular engagement with clients, advisors, attending industry conferences, and affiliations with organizations like ACORE and KWIRE ensures that MUFG remains at the forefront of industry developments, perpetuating its commitment to innovation and impactful financial solutions.

A Multifaceted Perspective on Defining Success

Louise, reflecting on the diverse facets of success, shares her unique perspective on achievement and the intrinsic motivations that drive her professional journey: “Being the best in my field and contributing my utmost in my current role at MUFG is a fundamental aspect of success for me. The ability to finance the construction and operation of renewable energy projects, playing a pivotal role in benefiting the environment holds profound significance in my definition of success.”

Acting as a training ground, the extensive network of MUFG project finance alumni attests to Louise’s role in shaping and coaching numerous individuals in the industry. “Witnessing their subsequent success and influence within the sector is undeniably rewarding, underscoring the impact I’ve had on their professional journey,” she declares.

The tangible impact of Louise’s work is paramount. Observing wind and solar farms sprawled across the U.S., witnessing the benefits they provide and the jobs they create for local communities, adds a tangible and fulfilling dimension to her sense of achievement. Navigating a predominantly male-dominated field, Louise finds great importance in being a role model. Paving the way and offering mentorship, from recruitment to upward progression within the organization, is a responsibility she embraces.

“MUFG, particularly within the project finance domain, serves as a robust environment where individuals tend to build lasting careers. I’ve witnessed colleagues entering straight from college and ascending to the position of managing director. It’s a testament to the sticky nature of our field,” she says.

Creating Harmony in Work, Passion, and Play

Louise Pesce provides a glimpse into her daily routine and the strategies she employs to maintain balance: At 6 a.m., she meticulously reviews her calendar and engages with emails or calls with teams and clients in Europe or NY while en route to the office. Once there, she strategically outlines a priority list encompassing calls, meetings, and essential tasks.

Her leadership extends beyond her office, as she walks the floor, actively listening, and providing guidance to the team. Louise delves into document reviews, proposal preparations, and collaborative brainstorming sessions, leveraging partnerships across the organization. The day unfolds with client calls, discussing proposal ideas, and intermittent teaching sessions designed to accelerate the learning curve for junior staff.

Summing up her work style in one word, Louise describes herself as “Approachable.” This contributes to her success with both clients and colleagues.

Louise articulates her approach to maintaining equilibrium, emphasizing the separation of professional and personal aspects while finding joy and rejuvenation in her diverse interests

“I try not to take my professional life out of the office – my professional life is not the whole me. If I have to be available and on, I’m on. Otherwise, I love my personal life of cooking, traveling, art, music, sport. Work is a piece of the pie, but it’s not my entirety. I have an active social life, a great family and group of friends. My de-stressor is around sport – I golf, snowboard, run, and enjoy yoga and Pilates. My work is the fuel for my personal life.”

Nurturing Relationships and Professional Growth

In offering guidance to aspiring business professionals, Louise shares valuable insights: “My advice for women is not that different than for men. Create a relationship with anybody that you meet in business and treat them as you would like to be treated. No matter what level they are, be curious, empathetic, and authentic while considering the mutual benefit of creating and maintaining the relationship.”

Louise emphasizes the universal importance of genuine connections, whether discussing current affairs, travel, food or sports, she identifies versatility in communication as a valuable skill set for both women and men. “Diplomacy is a huge key. Being a woman and being able to talk with anybody about anything is a skill you need to learn. Be able to talk to people at their level,” she observes is a key to creating and sustaining meaningful professional connections. In the pursuit of success, Louise highlights the significance of adaptability, straightforward communication, and retaining a sense of humor.

Louise encourages aspiring professionals to align with key MUFG cultural principles, including active listening, assertive communication, ownership, execution, and a people-centric approach. Confidence is underscored as a pivotal element in fostering professional growth and success. Her advice: “Listen Up, Speak Up; Own and Execute; and be People-focused are MUFG’s three other cultural principles that are all important ideas for aspiring professionals to embrace. Don’t be afraid to speak up, be yourself, confidence is huge.”


Louise Pesce stands as an exemplary leader, weaving together a tapestry of qualities that define her impactful contributions to the world of energy finance. Her dynamic leadership is characterized by an unwavering commitment to nurturing talent, evident in the development of her team members into recognized leaders.

Louise’s prowess in deal-making, exemplified by her involvement in pioneering global projects showcases her innovation and strategic acumen. Furthermore, her ability to effortlessly navigate challenges, especially those rooted in gender dynamics, underscores her resilience and determination.

With a focus on genuine relationship-building, diplomacy, and embracing cultural principles, Louise not only propels her team forward but also imparts invaluable lessons to aspiring professionals, leaving an indelible mark on the landscape of project finance and renewable energy.