Top 50 Emerging Leaders 2021 continued (in alphabetical order by CVC unit): Iliana Portugues, head of UK disruptive innovation, National Grid Partners

Iliana Portugues heads UK disruptive innovation at National Grid Partners (NGP), the innovation and investment arm of UK-headquartered electricity distributor National Grid.

Portugues said: “My professional aim is to contribute daily to the success of the organisation I work for and make a positive impact on society. I believe innovation and entrepreneurship are central to both of these and have focused my engineering and business career in these areas.

“I am a dynamic, results-oriented leader with a strong track record of developing and managing high performing teams and driving value across the whole value-chain of organisations. In my present role, my programme has delivered over £500m (roughly $670m) of outperformance within three years.

“I achieve this by focusing on people and developing a balanced innovation portfolio that delivers value today and tomorrow, driven by both financial performance and uncompromising idealism; focused externally and constantly challenging the internal status quo.”

NGP head Lisa Lambert added: “Ili has extensive experience spinning out technologies and companies from academic institutions and utilities and growing them internationally. She has also developed successful national strategies, having co-authored the Scottish Smart Grids strategy and the Energy Resiliency Plan for the US Department of Energy. She is a member of the UKRI and Supergen Energy Networks Strategic Advisory Committees, and a board member of Flexis and the Cheshire Energy Hub.

“At NGP, Ili and her team work across National Grid UK and National Grid Ventures, the company’s deregulated clean energy subsidiary, to develop a creative commercial culture and invent technologies and markets for the energy system of the future. As one example, she and her team have developed a prototype for a smart helmet that will keep utility field workers safer by allowing supervisors back in the office to remotely ‘see’ what the linespeople are seeing.”

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.