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).
Mr. Rankin has over 30 years of experience spanning banking and finance, including serving as the Co-Global Head of Investment Banking (Corporate Banking & Securities) for Deutsche Bank where he was responsible for the bank’s global investment banking business serving institutional, corporate and sovereign clients from 40 countries. Prior to this, Mr. Rankin was Deutsche Bank’s CEO of Asia-Pacific (ex-Japan), responsible for the bank’s management and strategic direction in the region. Mr. Rankin was Deutsche Bank’s first Asia-based member of their Group Executive Committee.
Prior to Deutsche Bank, Mr. Rankin was the Head of Investment Banking Asia-Pacific for UBS AG and was a member of the UBS Investment Bank Board as well as heading up the Technology, Media and Telecoms investment banking franchise. Mr. Rankin also formerly served as a Director of Hua Xia Bank Limited, CEO of Australia’s Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH) and Chairman of Crown Resorts Limited.
Mr. Rankin holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics and Law from the University of Sydney.
Head of 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, 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).
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.
Kevin Watkins, PhD
Dr. Watkins has 34 years of experience in animal health & nutrition research and technical support, and was most recently the Advisor for Nutritional Health at Elanco Animal Health. During his 29 years at Elanco, Dr. Watkins also held other key roles including the Head of Regulatory Affairs, Head of Biology Research & Technology Acquisitions, and the Advisor for Elanco Knowledge Solutions.
Dr. Watkins has been working with PLAMAN Global since January 2018 and has a strong working knowledge of Black Pearl.
Dr. Watkins holds a PhD from Louisiana State University, with a major in Animal Science and a minor in Human Nutrition. He also holds a MS from the University of Missouri (Animal Science) and a BS from the University of Missouri (Agriculture).
Dr. Watkins has authored or co-authored more than 100 scientific and business articles and abstracts on animal health, well-being and nutrition.