Better Grain's board of directors is made up of 6 members: one executive director, three independent non-executive directors, and two non-executive directors representing investors.
Dr Bob Zeigler
INDEPENDENT NON-EXECUTIVE Director
Dr. Robert “Bob” Zeigler was the director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the world’s leading rice research centre, from 2005 to 2015. He is the first Director General Emeritus of IRRI. Bob is an internationally respected plant pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in agricultural research in the developing world.
Bob’s professional life spanned Africa, Latin America, US, and Asia. He has had a productive research career on diseases of rice that focused on host-plant resistance, pathogen and vector population genetics, and their interactions to develop durable resistance and sustainable disease management practices. As Bob’s career moved increasingly towards research management his interests expanded to include broader crop management issues, the social forces shaping the agricultural environment, and finally the economic and political arena that frames food security and poverty issues. He has published over 100 scientific works in these areas and often serves as an expert resource on rice security in the regional and global media.
Bob is also the founding chairman of the board of the IRRI Fund Singapore, an incorporated nonprofit charitable organization established to raise the profile of international rice research and generate funding for it. He served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of International Agricultural Research Centers that manages a wide range of employee benefits for internationally recruited staff for the 15 CGIAR centers and several affiliated centers. He also served on the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board.
Aamer a. sarfraz
founder and chief executive
Aamer A. Sarfraz is founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Draper Oakwood Companies, which he established together with Tim Draper. Aamer is Chief Executive Officer of publicly-listed Draper Oakwood Technology Acquisition, Inc. (NASDAQ: DOTAU), and Draper Oakwood Royalty Capital Ltd (authorised and regulated by the FCA). Draper Oakwood is part of the Draper Venture Network (www.drapernetwork.com), the leading global collective of venture capital firms.
Aamer is a serial entrepreneur and investor. He is founder of several businesses, including Better Grain (www.bettergrain.co.uk) , which builds sustainable agricultural supply chains worldwide, working with thousands of small-hold farmers to use technology to grow better crops and increase livelihoods. He is also founder of Indus Basin Holding (www.indusbasin.com), which invests in Pakistan.
From 2006 - 2014, Aamer served as Managing Director of The Electrum Group (UK) LLP, which was part of The Electrum Group, a global private equity business investing in natural resources, headquartered in New York. At The Electrum Group, Mr. Sarfraz was involved in building international strategic partnerships, sourcing and evaluating new opportunities, fundraising, international business development for portfolio companies, managing government relations, and overseeing the management of various mineral exploration projects.
Previously, Aamer served as Business Development Director in the London office of Ithmar Capital Partners, a Dubai based private equity fund, where he was responsible for the development of an international network of co-investors. He started his career as an Analyst in the venture capital team at 3i Group plc in London, where he worked on evaluating new technology investment opportunities, due diligence, and value addition strategies.
Aamer serves as a Member of the International Advisory Board of Texas A&M University (www.tamu.edu), Trustee of the Cogito Scholarship Foundation in London (www.cogitoscholar.org), Member of the Wolfson College Strategy Group in Oxford (www.wolfson.ox.ac.uk), Member of the President’s Circle at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston (www.bcm.edu), Trustee of his family foundation - the Fazaldad Institute (www.fazaldad.org), Trustee of the Cheetah Conservation Fund UK (www.cheetah.org.uk), and Member of the Board of Governors of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Pakistan(www.wwfpak.org). He is Honorary Consul of Estonia in Pakistan.
Aamer founded the Govtech Alliance (www.govtechalliance.org), a UK not-for-profit which promotes technology and innovation for delivering better public services.
He holds an MSc (with Distinction) in Information Systems from the London School of Economics & Political Science, and graduated from Boston University’s School of Management. While still a graduate student, he conceived of and launched the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Entrepreneurship.
Richard Atterbury is a prominent investment industry professional. He is currently Chairman of AgFe, a specialist in European financial assets. He is also Director of the Soros Economic Development Fund and Chairman of New Philanthropy Capital.
He has 28 years of investment banking experience in both Europe and the US. He was a Vice Chairman at Nomura International, having previously been co-head of European Capital Markets and global co-head of the Financial Sponsors Group at Lehman Brothers. He was also a member of the firm’s European Operating Committee. He also spent 7 years at Morgan Stanley in London where he was global co-head of the Financial Sponsors Group and Chairman of European Leveraged Finance. Richard has also worked in the US at Bank of America and as Treasurer of Applied Power, Inc. Richard has a B.A. from Jesus College, University of Cambridge.
Ali Erfan has had a wide ranging business career, including venture capital and private equity. He was a Partner at 3i Group’s London headquarters, as part of the venture capital team. He led 3i’s expansion into the GCC and Israel, and led 3i’s investment into new sectors including clean tech and alternative energy.
Ali is a Managing Director at The Electrum Group, an investor in natural resources, particularly precious metals mining, worldwide. The group has a significant portfolio including public mining companies NovaGold and Gabriel Resources, and a number of private assets. Ali was a founding member of Leor Energy, and oil & gas exploration company that was acquired by EnCana for $2.55billion. He is a member of the board of Neos Geosolutions Inc, and a European family office, Augustus Ltd.
Ali is founder of the Cogito Scholarship Foundation, a UK charity, and a Trustee of Panthera UK. He holds a BA and MA (Hons) from Oxford University, and an MBA from the London Business School. He is a Fellow of the Kauffman Foundation for Venture Capital.
Hamid is CEO of Augustus Management, the private investment office of Baron Lorne Thyssen Bornemisza.
Hamid is an investment and finance professional with over 20 years’ experience working with multinational banks. Currently Hamid is board member to several businesses in the UK and the USA and has served as CEO of Thyssen Petroleum for the past 3 years, developing multiple projects in North America, Middle East and North Africa. Previous to working with the Thyssen family, Hamid worked with several international banks including Merrill Lynch International Bank London, Credit Suisse Geneva and CMB Monaco.
As a director and head of Merrill Lynch Middle East Wealth Management 1991-1997, Hamid was responsible for the Middle East private client business unit with over 150 staff and later with other banks having a similar high level management role. Hamid has a BA in Business Administration and Finance from the University of Colorado (1984-1988), and an Executive Master’s degree from the London Business School obtained in 1998.
INDEPENDENT NON-EXECUTIVE Director
Varun is a partner at a leading strategic intelligence and advisory firm based in New York, where he works closely with many of the world’s largest corporations and investors.
He previously worked as an advisor to a former UK Prime Minister, and began his career as an investment banker in London. He helped found two companies – including a permanent crop agricultural business in west Africa – and has worked on complex transactions across six continents. Varun is involved with a number of charitable foundations as a trustee and board member, and was educated at the University of Oxford.