Board of Directors
Azli Razali (Observer)
Chairman and CEO
For over 20 years, Allen has served as CFO, CEO or Chairman of numerous successful public and private companies. Before joining Biosynthetic Technologies LLC, Allen was CEO of a biomedical company with manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Mexico. This company was ultimately sold to a larger European distributor. While there, Allen also assisted in the creation, growth and ultimate sale to 3M Corporation of LingualCare, a technology based orthodontics company. Prior to the biomedical company, Allen was CFO of BUY.COM. While there, BUY.COM received $200 million in funding from the ventures community. At the time, BUY.COM’s revenues were second only to Amazon among online retailers.
Prior to BUY.COM, Allen served as CEO of Pacific National Bank (PNB). During his tenure, PNB went from very poor performance, losing millions of dollars in 1992 and 1993 (prior to his arrival) to among the top 3% of banks in the nation during 1997 and 1998. After-tax ROE in 1998 exceeded 33%. Also while at PNB, Allen was the CEO and co-founder with Lehman Brothers of Alta Residential Mortgage Trust a mortgage REIT, which focused on high-quality “A-Grade” mortgage loans. Alta was eventually sold to Washington Mutual. Under Allen’s management, PNB’s stock appreciated from $3 per share to $35 per share. The bank was sold to US Bancorp in 1999.
Previous to Pacific National Bank, Allen was the President of Capital Bancorp, which he eventually sold to BancOne. Before that, he was CFO of First Federal Bank, which he also sold to a larger bank. Allen began his professional career as an investment banker with Merrill Lynch in New York.
Allen received an MBA degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in 1987, and a B/S degree from Brigham Young University.
Executive Vice President
Robert I. Webber serves as the Executive Vice President of Biosynthetic Technologies, LLC. He joined the company in September 2016. Mr. Webber has more than 20 years’ experience as an executive in bio-technology, agriculture, life sciences and technology companies, having served as the CEO, COO, and CFO of several fast-growing, public and private companies.
Prior to joining Biosynthetic Technologies, Mr. Webber served as the Chief Commercial Officer of the leading biotech firm, TerraVia Holdings, Inc. (formerly Solazyme) where, among other responsibilities, he led the Industrial Products group, and commercial operations. Previously, he served as CEO and COO of publicly-traded Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc. (NYSE:MLP), a multi-business land, agriculture and resort company, and co-founder of Hawaii BioEnergy, LLC. Mr. Webber led two early-stage, publicly-traded technology companies, Dyntek, Inc. (Nasdaq: DYNE), where he served as President and CFO, and MindArrow Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRW), where he served as CEO. Mr. Webber is a co-founder of Resolution Biomedical, Inc., a privately-held medical device company that has developed proprietary chemical reagents for diagnostic purposes.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Webber was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, Inc., where he served life sciences and technology companies, including Monsanto, Inc. and NutraSweet Kelco. Mr. Webber holds a J.D. degree from Columbia Law School, and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.
Chief Financial Officer
Peter B. Harker is the Chief Financial Officer of Biosynthetic Technologies, LLC, having joined the Company in October 2015. Harker brings a seasoned record as a senior financial executive in the technology industry, and he has successfully served as CFO in both a public- and private-company context. A significant portion of Harker’s career has been deployed as CFO of private equity or venture backed technology companies, and Harker is adept at capital raises (both debt and equity), scaling organizations from small to large, driving strategic initiatives, and successfully executing exit transactions at appropriate timing in the shareholder-value trajectory.
Prior to Biosynthetic Technologies, Harker was CFO of PICS Auditing, LLC, a cloud-based technology company competing in the supply chain risk management space.
Prior to PICS Auditing, Harker was CFO of QTC Holdings, Inc., a technology-enabled medical service company providing outsourced disability examinations to governmental agencies, most notably the Veterans Administration. QTC’s patents represents a significant driver in the successful exit transaction via QTC’s sale to Lockheed Martin.
Prior to QTC, Harker was CFO at Logical Apps, Inc., a software developer in the governance, risk and compliance space. Harker successfully drove the transaction of selling Logical Apps to Oracle.
Prior to Logical Apps, Harker was CFO at Medidata Solutions, Inc., a software developer in the electronic clinical data management space.
Prior to Medidata, Harker was CFO at Optum Software, Inc., a software developer in the supply chain execution space.
Prior to Optum, Harker held various senior-level financial leadership roles (either Controller or CFO) at GTI Corporation; Photomatrix, Inc.; and National Medical Computer Services.
Harker began his career at Deloitte & Touche, with a focus on business assurance services.
Harker holds a B.S. degree in Accounting and a Masters in Business Administration, both from Brigham Young University. Harker is also a Certified Public Accountant (inactive license status).
Chief Operating Officer
Ajit Venkatraman joined Biosynthetic Technologies as Chief Operations Officer in June 2016. Ajit has over three decades of experience in key roles in Operations, Supply Chain, Engineering and Business leadership in Specialty Chemicals.
Ajit will lead the efforts to build the first commercial plant and develop world class operations and supply chain organization and systems in Biosynthetic Technologies.
Ajit started his career at DuPont after graduating with BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering. Some of the key roles during his 30-year career at DuPont were Plant Manager, Managing Director- Asia Pacific and Head of Global Supply Chain of a $2B Coatings business. While in Asia, Ajit successfully led the development, engineering and construction of a green-field project for manufacturing coatings in China.
Ajit also has led Engineering and Operations at Simbol Materials, a Lithium start-up company and led the growth of the company from bench scale technology to commercial plant design. He also served as member of the executive team that raised over $ 80MM in capital from investors. Recently, Ajit led the development and engineering of a project to construct a $3 B Nitrogen Fertilizer plant in US with CHS Inc.
Chief Technical Officer
Jake directs the work of a sizable team of chemists and engineers involved in technical research and product development for Biosynthetic Technologies. He leads the company’s ongoing efforts to develop synthetic base oils for new applications and manages the formulation of finished products in partnership with outside oil and additive companies. In addition, he oversees the company´s manufacturing efforts, including process development, toll manufacturing, and the design and engineering of a planned large-scale production facility. Jake is an inventor on over 30 of the company’s issued or pending patents.
Jake began his career as a process engineer at Jacobs Engineering, one of the world´s largest engineering firms. He specialized in improving process efficiency, reducing energy consumption, and mitigating operating costs, working with clients such as ConocoPhillips, BP, Tesoro, Valero, and Chevron. As part of one energy reduction project for ConocoPhillips, he helped reengineer an FCC unit at a California refinery, which resulted in an estimated energy cost savings of over $15 million annually. In another project he was asked to reengineer an existing vacuum tower to allow for increased gasoline production. As part of the new design, Jake found a way to recover 45 MMBtu/hr of energy that was previously wasted. During his tenure, he also evaluated and studied new technologies as part of the company’s effort to support the growing demand for clean technology.
After Jacobs Engineering, Jake was retained by Trinity Consultants for his experience to help expand the portfolio of services Trinity could offer clients. He was part of a team that focused on sustainability and energy efficiency projects, and was the point person for such projects in the California area.
Jake holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine with a specialization in biochemical engineering.
Senior VP, Sales and Marketing
Bruce Marley serves as Senior VP—Sales and Marketing for Biosynthetic Technologies.
Bruce’s experience in the commercial lubricant industry is expansive and impressive. Most recently, Bruce was Commercial Director for Chemtura, a $2.7B global chemical company. He was directly responsible for industrial lubricants, aviation lubricants, esters, and additives/components portfolios with OEM partners in Shell, BP, Castrol, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and many others. He was also a member of the leadership team for the Petroleum Additives Strategic Business Unit.
Prior to that Bruce spent over 15 years at BP/Castrol, growing from National Sales positions to Regional Sales Management to Director of North American Consumer Sales and ultimately General Manager of the entire Consumer Business Unit. In each sales leadership position he grew sales year over year, in most years double digit growth was experienced. In 2000, after BP’s acquisition of Castrol, Bruce spearheaded integration efforts between the two companies and identified and capitalized on shared business opportunities and development of new business units.
Bruce has served in many leadership positions and provided sales mentoring and training to his organizations. Bruce received a B.S.B.A. in Marketing from Nichols College
General Counsel and Secretary
Rizvan has served as the company’s General Counsel and Secretary since July 2015. Prior to joining Biosynthetic Technologies, Rizvan worked in the corporate legal department as a corporate generalist for a privately-held e-commerce company and, separately, a publicly held medical device company. Additionally, Rizvan practiced corporate and transactional law at Latham & Watkins LLP, specializing in public and private financing, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance matters. Rizvan also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Martin L.C. Feldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Rizvan received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from Tulane University.
John Hopkins has over 30 years of senior level managerial, operational and transactional investment banking experience. Most recently, Mr. Hopkins served as Senior Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Bears Stearns’ Financial Institutions Group. Prior to that role Mr. Hopkins served as a division Co-Head and Management Committee Member within the Investment Banking Division at Lehman Brothers, Inc. Previously he was Managing Director and Group Head at Merrill Lynch Capital Markets. Mr. Hopkins is also a co-founder and managing director of two merchant banking boutiques, and a residential mortgage REIT. Mr. Hopkins graduated from The George Washington University with a BA in International Affairs and earned an MBA in Finance from Georgia State University.
GERALD L. KOHLENBERGER
Jerry Kohlenberger retired in 2008 from ExxonMobil after serving for nearly 34 years in various senior downstream and corporate capacities. Most recently Mr. Kohlenberger spent six years as President of ExxonMobil’s Lubricants & Petroleum Specialties Company and Vice President for the ExxonMobil Corporation. Mr. Kohlenberger’s prior positions with the company included managing over $5 billion per year in downstream construction activities, managing three refineries, and serving as President of Global Services, which managed the corporation’s IP, procurement and real estate. Mr. Kohlenberger is currently President and Managing Director of a small venture capital firm that invests in and advises startup companies. He is also active in several civic causes. Mr. Kohlenberger holds a BS degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Southern California, an MSCE from CSU Long Beach and an MBA from the University of Southern California.
MEGHAN SHARP, Ph.D., BP Ventures
Ms. Sharp is a member of BP’s corporate venture team. Investments span the BP Group, focused on emerging, strategic technologies in five areas: bioenergy and biomaterials; energy efficiency and storage; carbon management; renewable power; and oil and gas. Ms. Sharp focuses on bio-based investments for the team and serves on the board of Chromatin Inc., Biosynthetic Technologies, Verdezyne, and Taxon Biosciences. Ms. Sharp received her Ph.D. in microbial genetics from the University of California, San Francisco, performed post-doctoral work in plant genetics at the University of Chicago and the Carnegie Institution of Washington at Stanford University, and received her MBA from Columbia University.
Mr. Wasson is an oilseed grower from Whitewater, Montana. He has also begun cattle back-grounding operations in Canada. Mr. Wasson has served as an advisor to the MSU Dean of Agriculture for the Montana Agriculture Experiment Station. Currently, he is a member of the Administrative Council for Western SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) for 17 western states and also, serves as a local airport commissioner. He has been involved with a variety of business ventures and agricultural projects throughout Montana and Western Canada. Mr. Wasson holds a degree in Agricultural Engineering from MSU.
Steve Bierschenk is a member of the corporate strategy team at Monsanto Company. Monsanto is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality, while producing more with less. Steve leads the company’s quality oil platform and other key strategic growth initiatives. Steve joined Monsanto in 2000 and has held various business leadership, marketing and strategy roles in a range of business units. Before joining Monsanto, he worked at The Procter & Gamble Company for eight years in Brand Management and Global Strategy within the health care division. Steve also previously worked for two farmer-owned cooperatives. He holds a BS in Dairy Science from Iowa State University and a MBA in Marketing & Innovation Management from Syracuse University.
Since January 2012 Bernhard Mohr has headed the team founding Evonik Venture Capital. Prior to joining Evonik, Bernhard was a member of the BASF Venture Capital Team from 2006 until 2011. He has held senior positions in the BASF Group since 1996 and has an international expertise in marketing, finance, corporate development and research & development. Bernhard studied chemistry at the Universities of Stuttgart, Germany and Cincinnati, USA and earned a doctorate from the Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany. He held postdoctoral appointments in Japan, France and USA.
Azli Razali is currently the Head of Sime Darby Renewables, a special unit within the Plantation Division of Sime Darby. He is focused on leveraging palm-based feed stocks from Sime Darby’s plantation business and converting them into value-added products. Previously, Azli was the Vice President of Group Strategy and Business Development for Sime Darby, as well as Senior Vice President, Education and Human Capital for Northern Corridor Implementation Authority. Prior to joining Sime Darby, Azli worked in the investment banking sector with Credit Suisse, specializing in mergers, acquisition and hostile takeover defense. Azli holds a Bachelor of Arts and a master’s degree from Cambridge University. He is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of England and Wales (ICAEW).