Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Plakidis has over 18 years of experience spanning agriculture, mining, investments and investment banking. Mr. Plakidis co-founded PLAMAN Global in February 2014 and has been serving as PLAMAN Global’s CEO since January 2016.
Before founding PLAMAN Global, Mr. Plakidis was the Head of Financial Sponsors for Asia Pacific for Deutsche Bank, where he sourced, structured and executed numerous investments across geographies, sectors and capital structures. Prior experience includes roles at Credit Suisse, ABN AMRO and Lehman Brothers.
Mr. Plakidis has a Master of Applied Finance from Macquarie University and degrees in Law and Commerce from the University of Western Australia.
Co-Founder & Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Manolas has over 17 years of experience spanning agriculture, mining, investments and finance. Mr. Manolas co-founded PLAMAN Global in February 2014 and served as Co-CEO until June 2018, at which point he transitioned to serve as CFO of PLAMAN Global.
Before founding PLAMAN Global, Mr. Manolas was Chief Investment Officer for Albany Capital Group, a $2 billion+ private family office owned by one of the wealthiest families in Australia and one of the largest private owners of real estate in Australia. Prior experience includes roles at Goldman Sachs and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Mr. Manolas has an MBA with High Distinction from Harvard Business School (Baker Scholar and graduated in the top 1% of his class) and degrees in Law and Commerce from the University of New South Wales (where he graduated first in his class).
President, Animal Nutrition & Health
Mr. Aukerman has over 34 years of experience in animal nutrition and health. Before joining PLAMAN Global, Mr. Aukerman spent nearly 25 years with Elanco Animal Health (a division of Eli Lilly and Company), where he was most recently Corporate Vice President and Head of New Business Strategy and Development, reporting to the President & CEO of Elanco. In this role, Mr. Aukerman had global oversight for the management, development and growth of the Aquaculture, Vaccine, Bio-Protection, and Enzyme businesses. He also led commercial licensing and acquisition strategy and execution.
From 2007 to 2015, Mr. Aukerman served as Corporate Vice President and President of North America (Commercial Operations), where he led an organization of more than 800 employees in the US and Canada.
Prior roles at Elanco Animal Health also include Senior Director of Global Marketing, Area Director & General Manager of the Pacific Rim, as well as Director of Innovation Strategy.
Mr. Aukerman graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Asbury University.
Bill Weldon, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Weldon has over 27 years of experience in animal nutrition and health. Dr. Weldon spent over 21 years with Elanco Animal Health from 1995 to early 2017 where his final role was the Global Leader of Elanco’s Nutritional Health business unit. In this role, Dr. Weldon built an internal business unit focused on expanding Elanco’s offering in non-medicated feed additives for livestock. He also led efforts to expand Elanco’s product portfolio beyond enzymes by licensing leading probiotic technology and assembled a team of experts with significant industry experience in research, regulatory and commercial.
From 2008 to 2015, Dr. Weldon served as Vice President of Elanco’s Global Research, Development and Regulatory division, where he oversaw significant global product approvals, as well as the increase of Elanco’s R&D portfolio pNPV by over 8 times and capacity by 4 times. Dr. Weldon also oversaw Elanco’s Globalization of Regulatory infrastructure to improve global regulatory outcomes and reduce time of approvals.
In addition to his senior role within Elanco’s Research, Development and Regulatory division, Dr. Weldon was also responsible for Elanco’s Western Europe Commercial Operations from 2013 to 2014, and for Elanco Knowledge Solutions from 2008 to 2014.
Dr. Weldon holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska, with a major in Animal Science, Swine Nutrition. Dr. Weldon also holds a MS (Animal Science) and BS (Animal Science) from Michigan State University. Dr. Weldon serves on the board of the American Society of Animal Science, and is on the board of other global, national and local scientific and philanthropic organizations.
Vice President, Commercialization Strategy
Mr. Cardenas has over 28 years of experience in animal nutrition and health, encompassing key animal species including poultry and swine. Prior to joining PLAMAN Global, Mr. Cardenas spent his career at Elanco Animal Health and Eli Lilly, where he was most recently the Senior Director of Global Poultry Marketing at Elanco. In this role, Mr. Cardenas was responsible for creating and executing the global species strategy for poultry and built strong relationships with poultry integrators across the globe. Mr. Cardenas also led the development of the global poultry marketing and technical community.
From 2011 to 2016, Mr. Cardenas served as the Senior Director of Latin America, where he led an organization of more than 400 employees, was responsible for the overall P&L, and oversaw the doubling of sales for the region.
Mr. Cardenas was a member of the Elanco Executive Leadership Team from January 2015 to January 2017. Prior roles at Elanco Animal Health also include Director of Marketing Food Animal, Director of US Poultry and Director of Global Poultry.
Mr. Cardenas holds an MBA from Butler University, with a major in marketing. Mr. Cardenas also holds a BA (Chemistry) from Manchester University.
General Manager, New Zealand
Mr. Pilcher is a New Zealand native with over 30 years of experience in the New Zealand mining industry and has spent his entire career in the South Island of New Zealand where PLAMAN Global’s operations are located. Prior to joining PLAMAN Global, Mr. Pilcher spent nearly 6 years with Bathurst Resources, a major New Zealand mining business listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, where he was most recently General Manager of Domestic Marketing & Business Development. From September 2012 to May 2017, Mr. Pilcher was the General Manager of Domestic Operations.
During his tenure at Bathurst Resources, Mr. Pilcher led the purchase and development (including management of the design approvals) of the Canterbury coal mine from greenfield to a mine that is now producing 170,000 tonnes per annum. Mr. Pilcher also managed and secured all resource and council consents, as well as negotiated the freight & logistic contracts and the mining services agreement for the Coaldale pit at Takitimu Coal that is now producing 270,000 tonnes. Mr. Pilcher’s other responsibilities included Marketing Manager of all New Zealand mining operations, Senior Site Executive of all South Island mining operations and developing annual and 5-year budgets and operating plans.
Prior to joining Bathurst Resources as part of its acquisition of Eastern Corporation, Mr. Pilcher was the General Manager of New Zealand for Eastern Corporation from August 2008 to March 2011. Prior roles at Eastern Corporation also include Operations Manager of New Zealand and Marketing Manager of New Zealand.
Throughout his career, Mr. Pilcher has built successful relationships with a wide range of stakeholders including but not limited to government and councils, regulators, landowners, community associations, indigenous groups, environmental bodies and unions.
General Manager, Projects
Mr. Felekis has over 17 years of experience across mining and resources projects, and has worked on various mineral processing plants around the world. Prior to joining PLAMAN Global, Mr. Felekis was Principal Mechanical Engineer at CPC Project Design and Lycopodium Minerals, where his experiences encompassed all aspects of design, design management, project management, construction management and commissioning, as well study management.
During his tenure at CPC Project Design and Lycopodium Minerals, Mr. Felekis was responsible for numerous projects such as: First Quantum Minerals’ Ravensthorpe Project, where he was the lead mechanical and design engineer; Talison Lithium’s chemical-grade plant, where he was the project manager and design manger for the crushing facility; and Newcrest Mining’s VTM 3000 Vertimill project, where he was the design and commissioning manager. Mr. Felekis was also Lead Field Engineer and Design Manager for Nordgold in Burkina Faso, where he provided construction support during the construction phase of the Bouly heap leach project.
Mr. Felekis graduated with Honours from Curtin University of Technology with a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical).