Executive Team

Executive Chairman
Bill ZhengExecutive Chairman

Bill Zheng is the founder and Executive Chairman of Investors Direct Financial Group (IDFG) and Australian Education City (AEC). Bill was educated in Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Business and Financial Management in China, Australia and the U.S. After a long corporate career spanning positions in Asia Pacific, U.S. and Europe, Bill left PricewaterhouseCoopers Melbourne in 2000 to found IDFG, which has now become an integrated investment group including subsidiaries in property advisory & management, mortgage finance, financial planning, insurance and superannuation, funds management, property development & construction. Bill’s other passion is to make the world a better place and create a collaborative environment where everyone can live, work, learn and play. This vision has helped to create and shape the mantra and drive behind AEC. Bill works closely with his strong and experienced team of professionals to find and acquire new development opportunities throughout Australia to deliver this new and exciting concept.

Executive Director
Ross MartiensenExecutive Director

Ross is an Executive Director of Australian Education City. He holds a full licence in Real Estate in Victoria and New South Wales. Ross studied Applied Science and Photography at RMIT, and completed a Diploma of Property at Academic Pavilion and a Certificate IV in Mortgage Broking from AAMC. Ross began his outstanding career in the Real Estate industry in 2001 after travelling around the world extensively for more than 3 years. He was the head of the Property Investment Division for one of the largest building groups in Victoria and directed a number of land subdivision and property development projects within his own business before heading up Investors Direct Property Advisory (IDPA) in 2010. Ross has a remarkable track record in delivering high performing investment properties and his expertise is well sought after by property investors across Australia. In the last few years, Ross has secured over $400 million of residential property transactions to individual property investors. Ross is passionate about the environment and how we can improve the quality of life through strong community engagement and lifestyle, all of which are aligned with the vision of Australian Education City.

Development, Design, Construction Delivery Lead
Shane SheedyDevelopment, Design, Construction Delivery Lead

Shane is a result-driven senior development and construction executive with over 28 years of experience delivering a diverse range of projects throughout Australia. He is a registered Commercial and Domestic Building Practitioner. Shane has managed numerous projects from inception to completion across a wide range of developments from low, medium and high density residential to, commercial, and retail government projects. Notable projects delivered by Shane include Waterfront City, Docklands, Silverwater Resort, Aerial Apartments, Bendigo Market Place Shopping Centre, Monash Green, Clayton. Shane is the Director of the Development & Construction business unit of Capitol Property Group Pty Ltd, and the Design and Development Lead for Australian Education City.

Education / R&D Advisor
Haydn WrightEducation / R&D Advisor

Haydn has over 30 years in the investment banking sector with institutions such as Kleinwort Benson, CIBC and Citibank. Prior to joining Australian Education City, Haydn specialised in the design and implementation of leveraged funding structures for property developments, the development of tax effective film trusts using reinsurance structures, initiation of agricultural ventures (Pyrethrum and Biodiesel), the project leadership and strategic review on relocation of Australian Navy, and the former Head of Credit for Affinity Funds Management Limited. More recently, Haydn has been a venture capital consultant and advisor to major research institutes and universities on the commercialisation of intellectual property stemming from strategic research. Haydn has held positions as a Responsible Manager on AFS Licences, independent compliance committee member for public trusts and public company board positions.  Haydn is currently a special advisor to Australian Education City and has been instrumental in the development of the vision for Australia’s first Innovation District

Finance &Technology Lead
Emmanuel FoundasFinance &Technology Lead

Emmanuel has had a distinguished, 25 year career in investment banking with some of the world’s most well known banks including Macquarie Bank, Dresdner Bank, Salomon Smith Barney, Natwest Markets, Michell NBD, and Mobil Oil across areas such as origination; structured derivatives; project finance risk management; interest rate, foreign exchange and commodity risk management; euro bond issues; and US and domestic paper programs.  He was also a key team member in the origination and transaction management of $1bn project finance for a gold mining company and associated currency and commodity risk management on the transaction, origination and advice on a $500m bid for major ports organisation, origination and advice on the $200m sale of a gaming technology company, and acquisition and roll up of personnel companies for a major US company.

Emmanuel is currently the Managing Director of Theta Group, a boutique investment house that provides capital, advice and investment banking services, a board member of Gooroo Ventures, and is Chief Representative, Oceania and South East Asia for Condusiv Technologies.

Emmanuel is the Finance and Technology Lead for Australian Education City.  He is responsible for leading finance and commercial consultants through the financial close process and governing the transaction management process to ensure the fund raising process is competitive and robust, while also ensuring the correct financial structure is secured to realise the project’s full development potential.

John TabartCEO

John Tabart has 35 years CEO private and public sectors experience with full profit center responsibility in Australia, the UK, the US, South East Asia and the Middle East. John’s career includes notable global roles such as:

  • CEO of the delivery authority for the $10B Barangaroo Precinct, together with Board membership of the Barangaroo Delivery Authority for over 5 years where John was responsible for governance, management, funding, financial and risk management, marketing, planning, design, contracting, JV partnership management, delivery, public and media relations, and operations of the precinct
  • Managing Director of Explore Capital Ltd and Explore Investments Ltd (the London based property development and funds management subsidiaries of Laing O’Rourke Plc) where John was responsible for management, creation and delivery of the GBP £2Bn, residential, commercial, retail, education and mixed-use developments
  • Non-executive Director of the Dubai based sovereign fund Sama Dubai LLC and Chairman of its Investment Committee. In addition, he was the Chief Portfolio Officer and Executive Director of Sama Dubai LLC responsible for initiating, creating and managing the development of Sama’s new real estate development investments and JV’s in Dubai, Morocco, Turkey, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, China and Vietnam.
  • CEO of the Docklands Authority and VicUrban (a 2003 merger of the Melbourne Docklands Authority and the Urban and Regional Land Corporation)
  • Development Director for the Federal Airports Corporation for the Brisbane International Airport Complex
  • CEO of Mirage Resorts in Australian and the US.