Plenary Speakers, Panellists & Moderators


Mr Jim Rogers

Investment Expert and Author


Jim Rogers, a native of Demopolis, Alabama, is an author, financial commentator, adventurer, and successful international investor. He has been frequently featured in Time, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Barron’s, Forbes, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Business Times, The Straits Times and many media outlets worldwide. He has also appeared as a regular commentator and columnist in various media and has been a professor at Columbia University.


After attending Yale and Oxford University, Rogers co-founded the Quantum Fund, a global-investment partnership. During the next 10 years, the portfolio gained 4200%, while the S&P rose less than 50%. Rogers then decided to retire – at age 37. Continuing to manage his own portfolio, Rogers kept busy serving as a full professor of finance at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, and, in 1989 and 1990, as the moderator of WCBS’s ‘The Dreyfus Roundtable’ and FNN’s ‘The Profit Motive with Jim Rogers’.


In 1990-1992, Rogers fulfilled his lifelong dream: motorcycling 100,000 miles across six continents, a feat that landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records. As a private investor, he constantly analyzed the countries through which he traveled for investment ideas. He chronicled his one-of-a-kind journey in Investment Biker: On the Road with Jim Rogers. Jim also embarked on a Millennium Adventure in 1999. He traveled for 3 years on his round-the-world, Guinness World Record journey. It was his 3rd Guinness Record. Passing through 116 countries, he covered more than 245,000 kilometers, which he recounted in his book Adventure Capitalist: The Ultimate Road Trip. His book, Hot Commodities: How Anyone Can Invest Profitably In The World’s Best Market, was published in 2004. Another of his books A Bull in China describes his experiences in China as well as the changes and opportunities there. His recent book A Gift to My Children is a heartfelt, indispensable guide for his daughters (as well as for all adults and children) to find success and happiness. His latest memoir Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets was published in February 2013.


Mr Euan Mann

Complete Commodity Solutions


As an analyst at ED&F Man, he helped to establish coffee crop forecasting operations in Vietnam and Brazil, in addition to working with field teams based in the cocoa areas of West Africa. When ED&F Man bought Volcafe in 2003, Euan became the Senior Coffee Analyst for the combined group. In 2006, he moved to a more commercial role, helping to set up ED&F Man Derivatives Advisors (MDA), a financial services business offering options-based strategies to end-users and investors in the commodities sector.


In 2010, he founded Complete Commodity Solutions (CCS) to explore independent opportunities in soft commodities analysis. Initially, he was contracted exclusively to Cadbury Plc as Head of Global Commodity Analysis, advising on group hedging strategy.


Upon completion of this contract, CCS began to expand its client base to include commodity merchants, food producers, and commodity hedge funds. This breadth of experience gives him a unique perspective.


Euan is also a member of the ICCO Expert Working Group on Stocks, an observer at the ICO Statistics Committee, and regularly speaks at industry conferences. He has consulted as an expert to The World Bank and to the commodities division of the NYSE Liffe Commodities Exchange.


Mr Manfred Borer

PT KOLTIVA Indonesia


Manfred lives and works since 2007 in Indonesia and has been involved in cocoa development initiatives for the last eight years. Under his leadership as Swisscontact Country Director he brought together twelve cocoa and chocolate companies with more than 100,000 smallholder cocoa farmers within the Sustainable Cocoa Production Program.


2013-2015 Manfred was chairing the Sustainable Cocoa Partnership CSP and leading the Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture PISAgro cocoa working group from 2013-2017. He is a member of the consultative board to the world cocoa economy at the ICCO.


In August 2017, Manfred left Swisscontact and joined PT Koliva, a successful Agri-Tech startup based in Jakarta which evolved from SCPP, as its chairman of the board.


Manfred grew up on a farm in Switzerland and founded a construction company after an apprenticeship as carpenter. Before joining Swisscontact, he graduated as a Business Process Manager with an Engineer Degree from the University of Applied Sciences, majoring Plant Management.


Ms Geana Barbosa

Head of Sales,
Euromonitor International


Geana is a market research leader and an energetic ambassador of curiosity in business. In her 6 years with Euromonitor International, she lead different teams from client consultants to solution designers, helping clients to find answers to their most complex business questions. Brazilian, she spent most of her career in Euromonitor in Chile, helping global and regional clients to grow in the constant changing Latin American landscape. Now, based in Singapore, Geana is diving in the Asia Pacific specific challenges connecting Euromonitor’s global teams to the Eastern World astonishing business scenario.


In recent years, Geana had the opportunity to work in research assessments for cocoa manufacturers, chocolate manufacturers and export promotion boards focusing on growth through value added cocoa exports. On the other hand, Geana always tries to bring back those conversations to a wider spectrum of analysis, going beyond the industry per se and suggesting frameworks that also consider consumers and economies fronts as imminent drivers of trends.


Before Euromonitor, Geana worked in the B2B and Consumer Goods industries, including companies such as Unilever, Dow Chemical and Anglo American.
Geana holds a mass communication degree from Faculdade Casper Libero, in Brazil, a Specialization in Marketing and Sales from Universidad Adolfo Ibanez, Chile and a Master in Business Administration from Durham University, UK.


Ms Pam Thornton

Portfolio Manager,
Armajaro Group


PAM THORNTON is an “old school” physical commodity trader who has crossed over to the dark side and now works with a specialized fund as a portfolio manager. An experienced physical trader, she puts a strong emphasis on origin research and regularly undertakes treks at origin in the belief that most years it is production expectations that are the key drivers of the cocoa price. Currently, Pam works for the Armajaro Group helping develop trading strategies for their CC+ fund which trades a diverse group of agricultural futures and options. Prior to setting up Armajaro’s U.S. office in 2003 she ran the U.S. cocoa trading operations of Phibro and Louis Dreyfus. She is a former Chairperson of the CMAA, and a long-time member of both ICE’s Cocoa Committee and the ICCO’s “expert” panel. She studied economics at Cambridge University.


Mr Gerald Abwerzger

Chief Executive Officer,
Von Alm Pte Ltd


Gerald spent his entire life in the commodity industry, covering energy, metals and soft commodities.


He started his career in 2005 at Statkraft in Düsseldorf as a trading analyst of the European power, gas and carbon market. In his role, he covered the spot and forward market and designed associated structured sales products. In 2008 he moved on to E.ON, heading the global oil market analysis with special focus on long term scenario planning. After 4 years with E.ON, Gerald joined BHP in Singapore in various analytical roles, covering the lead, zinc and copper, as well as the Indian and Chinese energy market. He stayed with BHP for 5 years where he also held the position of a Risk Champion.


In February 2016, he co-founded the global soft commodity trading house Von Alm with the purpose to create long-term stakeholder value through physical trading of soft commodities. Two months after its incorporation, Von Alm conducted its first trade and since then it grew continuously. Today, it is active on 4 different continents with sourcing operations in Asia Pacific and Latin America.


Gerald was born and raised in Austria and holds and MSc. in Petroleum Engineering and is co-author of commodity related books. He is based in Singapore where he lives with his wife and three-year-old daughter.


Mr Bas Smit

Global Marketing Director,
Barry Callebaut


Before joining Barry Callebaut end of 2014, Bas has been working at Unilever for 17 years, across multiple disciplines (ranging from Finance, Customer Development to Marketing), covering different regions (Benelux, Western Europe, Russia & CIS countries). As such, he gained extensive experience within the Food Service and Retail Market, whilst leading and coaching multicultural teams.


Bas holds a Master of Science degree in Operational Research and Statistics of the University of Technology in Eindhoven, He studied Mathematics and Econometrics at the Technical University in Karlsruhe and finally achieved a Post Doctorate in Brand Management at the University of Groningen.


Mr Peter van Deursen

Chief Executive Officer,
Cargill Asia Pacific


Peter van Deursen is the chief executive officer for Cargill in Asia Pacific. Peter is also the leader for the APAC & Global Malt Group, part of Cargill’s Food & Bio-Industrial (FIBI) enterprise, where he is responsible for leading the group’s business that serves food makers, food service companies and food retailers. Having assumed this role in 2014, Peter is focused on telling the FIBI story across Asia Pacific, driving the Asia engine of growth and building a play-to-win culture within the group.


Peter first joined Cargill in 1990 as a management trainee in the Netherlands. He subsequently held a variety of roles with Cargill’s European Starches and Sweeteners business. This was followed by several leading positions throughout Cargill globally, including business development manager for Cargill’s Biodegradable Plastics business in the United States; commercial director for the Starches and Sweeteners business in Europe; and general manager for the Starches and Sweeteners business in Turkey.


Peter holds an MBA from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands (specializing in marketing and economics). Parallel to management experience, he has extensive experience with operations, sales, M&A, market entry and corporate responsibility issues.


Peter is currently based in Singapore where he lives with his wife and two daughters, and enjoys playing golf.


Ben De Schryver

Barry Callebaut Asia Pacific


Ben de Schryver is the President of Barry Callebaut in Region Asia Pacific.


Reporting directly to the CEO, Ben is responsible for managing all of Barry Callebaut’s growth, profitability and operations across Asia Pacific which includes 9 chocolate and cocoa factories and 4 direct sales offices.


Ben has been at Barry Callebaut since 2000 in a variety of sales and finance roles in Region Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. Prior to being promoted to his current position in September 2016, he was Barry Callebaut’s CFO of Region Americas. In his previous assignment for the company in Asia, he also held the regional CFO role from 2001 to 2005. During this tenure in Singapore, the company established new business opportunities and began to expand into other markets in the region.


Ben is a Belgium national and a permanent resident of the United States of America. A father of two, Ben graduated from University College Ghent, Belgium, in 1997. He was awarded a degree in Business Management, Magna cum Laude.


Mr Harold Poelma

Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate


Harold was appointed as president for Cargill’s global cocoa & chocolate activities in January of 2016. Since June 2012 he was managing director for Cargill Refined Oils Europe. Prior to this, he was managing director of Cargill’s cocoa activities in Europe, Africa and Asia. He has worked in the cocoa industry for Cargill in the Netherlands since 2001. He joined Cargill in 1987 and has held various management positions in Cargill‘s refined vegetable oils business, in Cargill’s oilseeds processing division and grain trading division in Europe and the United States.


He has a master degree in industrial engineering & management science from the University of Technology in Eindhoven.


He is a Dutch national and 55 years of age. He is married and they have one daughter.


Mr Ning-Geng Ong

Chocolate Concierge


Ning-Geng Ong is founder of Chocolate Concierge, an artisanal chocolatier in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He works exclusively with single origin chocolates and is currently working on the Malaysian origin, from pod to bar.


Ning graduated in Physics and Computer Science from Illinois, USA in 2003 and did an MBA in Finance in 2005. After being away for 8 years, in 2008, he returned to Malaysia and continued to ponder on how a cocoa producing country can produce chocolates that is highly regarded globally. His science education stood him in good stead as they help him familiarise with the technical aspects of good chocolate production. He believes good chocolates start from good cocoa pods – thus he takes great pains to source fresh, well ripened pods directly from growers, some of whom are the Orang Asli (Indigenous People) in Pahang.


Mrs Musdhalifah Machmud, MT

Deputy of Food and Agriculture
Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, Republic of Indonesia


Mrs. Musdhalifah Machmud is engaged as Deputy of Food and Agriculture, the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, Republic of Indonesia. She manages for Food and Agriculture, including strategic policies which made by the Ministry. Her coordination and strategic policies includes rice, red meat, corn, soya bean, palm oil, cocoa, tea, rubber, sugarcane, biofuels, horticulture products, fertilizer, seeds, and other agriculture issues.


Between 1988 – 2003, Mrs Musdhalifah served the Ministry of Forestry. During her terms, she has extensive experiences related to wetland ecosystems conservation, biodiversity conservation, budget program preparation, general plan of forestry, and also had been involved as forestry policy maker and implementation team. Mrs Musdhalifah has frequently been requested to be a speaker on food, plantation, biofuels, and agriculture issues.


Mrs Musdhalifah holds master degree from Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in Indonesia, postgraduate education in ITC Enschede, The Netherlands for evaluation and monitoring of environmental change, and bachelor degree in Management of Forest from Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) in Indonesia.


Ms Cathy Pieters

Director Cocoa Life,
Mondelēz International


Cathy leads Cocoa Life, Mondelēz International’s sustainable cocoa program. Cocoa Life aims to transform the company’s cocoa supply chain by investing directly in creating empowered, thriving cocoa communities as the essential foundation for sustainable cocoa. With its $400 million investment over 10 years in Cocoa Life, Mondelēz International is committed to empowering 200,000 cocoa farmers and improving the lives of more than 1 million people in cocoa communities.


Cathy joined the company in 2007, then known as Kraft Foods, to lead media strategy and buying for the Benelux business before taking the helm of the Côte d’Or and Toblerone brand strategy for growth.Cathy’s leadership of the chocolate brands’ foundations, innovation and communication strategy resulted in the transformation of Côte d’Or into a sustainably sourced chocolate brand – a first for a mainstream chocolate brand.


Before joining Mondelēz International, Cathy gained over 15 years of experience in brand planning and media strategy across several Advertising Agencies.


Mr Yeong Chye

Global Business Head-Asia Pacific,
Olam Cocoa


Yeong Chye is the Global Business Head – Asia Pacific for Olam Cocoa’s business in Asia Pacific. He is a member of Olam Cocoa’s Executive Committee.


With more than 30 years’ experience in agri-commodity marketing & trading, Yeong Chye joins Olam following 18 years at ADM. Before joining ADM, he had a successful career with Sime Darby’s plantation division in Malaysia. Based in Singapore, he has extensive experience working across numerous APAC markets including Indonesia, Japan, China, Philippines, India & Australia.


Yeong Chye has been a previous council member for ASEAN Cocoa & served as chairman of the Cocoa Association of Asia for 11 years. He holds a BA in Business Administration, having majored in finance.


Mr Gricha Safarian

General Manager,
Puratos Grand-Place Vietnam


Gricha Safarian, Shareholder and Managing Director of Puratos Grand-Place Indochina has been in the B-to-B chocolate business for over 30 years, being one of the founder of OCG Cacao Group (acquired by Cargill after 5 years of successful operation) and founder of Grand-Place Chocolate, head quartered in Belgium.


Gricha and his team have been involved in the introduction and development of cocoa plantation in Vietnam since 2008 with a number of sustainable cocoas sourcing programs. Gricha’s latest achievement was to set up the Cacao Trace Certification program including innovative incentives for farmers as well as developing a full “pod to bar” model that is giving back a strategic place to the fermentation of the beans. The full vertically integrated process is now exiting pilot stage in Vietnam and is currently being adopted at the larger scale by Puratos Group where Gricha is part of the Cocoa Sourcing Strategic Team.


Mr Paul Davis

Deputy Head of Cocoa,


Paul Davis commenced his career in Cocoa in 1987, joining Pacol Ltd., a Cocoa Coffee and Rubber trading business based in London and a founding member of LIFFE, London International Financial Futures Exchange. Following the merger of Pacol and her parent group, Gill and Duffus ED&F Man in 1988, Paul Davis joined the enlarged trading team and became Managing Director and Global Head trader for Cocoa in 1998 until 2006 when he joined the Wingspan Group to support found Tropix Capital LLP., in Connecticut, a specialist softs commodity fund concentrating on discretionary Cocoa, Coffee and Sugar trading. In 2011 Paul Davis founded Holland Capital LLP, a private commodities investment fund with two former ED&F Man colleagues until accepting an appointment as Global Head of Cocoa at Noble Group in 2013 and subsequently joining Sucden Group as the Deputy Head of Cocoa Trading in 2016.


Paul Davis was qualified as a floor trader in 1997 (and therefore luckily managed to be ‘grand fathered’ through later FSA examinations); served as Council Member from 1999, Vice Chair from 2003, and then Chairman of the FCC, from 2006 to 2009; served as member from 2001, and then Chairman of the Cocoa Advisory Committee to LIFFE from 2003 to 2006; has served as an arbitrator for the FCC since 2002; has served as an advisor to the Ivory Coast Government on stabilisation plans for of the CDI Internal Cocoa market in 2009. Paul Davis is married with two (allegedly) grown up children, read Law at University London, is a freeman of the City of London and a member of the Worshipful Company of World Traders.


Mr. Evert Raymakers

Head of Asia Pacific,


For the last 20 years or so, Evert’s work has been focused on Asia. From 1997-2000 he has lived and worked in China as director of the Rotterdam office. Moving back to the Netherlands, he then became responsible for Asia for the Port of Rotterdam. In the following 8 years, he had his own company, producing in China and trading in Europe. In 2013 Evert joined UTZ. He first set up UTZ in China, then became Head of Emerging markets and has been head ofAsia Pacific since early 2016 for all the commodities UTZ is active in.


Evert holds a masters degree in Sinologyfrom Leiden, with specialization in Management, Leiden / Erasmus University (The Netherlands)


Prof Annie KOH

Vice President, Office of Business Development
Practice Professor of Finance
Academic Director, Business Families Institute and International Trading Institute@SMU


PhD International Finance, New York University, 1988
M Phil International Finance, New York University, 1985
Bachelor of Social Science & Economics (Hons) National University of Singapore, 1976
Monetary Authority of Singapore Scholar, 1975


Professor Annie Koh is Vice President for Office of Business Development, Singapore Management University. A Practice Professor of Finance, Annie also holds the position of Academic Director for two university level institutes – the Business Families Institute and International Trading Institute.


A notable conference speaker, panel moderator and commentator, Annie serves on a number of councils, advisory boards and steering committees. She is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Regional Governance and is a board member of Family Firm Institute, Inc. In addition, she chairs the finance and investment committee on the board of GovTech Singapore, and Asian Bond Fund 2 Supervisory Committee of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and serves on Singapore’s Central Provident Fund Board, and SkillsFuture HR Sectoral Tripartite Committee, HR Certification Taskforce. Annie is also an independent director of k1 Ventures Ltd, and lead director of Health Management International Ltd. She is also a corporate and advisory board member of fintech firms, JEDTrade and Stashaway.


A Fulbright scholar, Annie earned her PhD in International Finance from Stern School of Business, New York University in 1988. Her research interests are in Family Office and Family Business, Investor Behaviour, Alternate Investments and Enterprise Risk Management. She co-authored Financial Management: Theory and Practice, An Asia Edition (2014), and Financing Internationalisation – Growth Strategies for Successful Companies (2004). She is also author of a number of Asian family business cases and survey reports.


Annie is a recipient of the prestigious Singapore Public Administration Medal, Bronze in 2010 and Silver in 2016, for her contributions to the education and public sectors.


Mr Steve Wateridge

Managing Partner,
Tropical Research Services


STEVE WATERIDGE has been Managing Partner of Tropical Research Services, supply market analysis to a range of hedge fund, trade and industry clients, since 2009. Prior to setting up Tropical Research Services in 2009 he was a Coffee and Cocoa Analyst at Ospraie Services Group, whom he joined in 2006. Before that, Mr. Wateridge worked at ED&F Man, where he was the Head of Coffee and Cocoa Research (2001-2006) and Head of Cocoa Research (1988-2001). Prior to ED&F Man, he was an Economist at Rowntrees PLC (1983-1988) and an Economist at the Economics Division of Saudi Arabian Embassy (1981-1983).


Mr. Wateridge has been a member of the ICCO Expert Working Group on Stocks since 1994 and Chairman of the Group since 2005. Mr. Wateridge earned an MSc in Economics (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1981) as well as a BA in Economics and Politics (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1979).


Mr Ross Jaax

Program Director,


Mr. Jaax, based in Jakarta, is the Director of the Sustainable Cocoa Production Program in Indonesia, implemented by Swisscontact.


He has 20 years of international management experience with organizations including ACDI/VOCA, aWhere Inc., the International Finance Corporation, and TetraTech/ARD. His professional interests are the proper functioning of certified commodity systems, and improving smallholder farmers’ access to finance, inputs, and information. Mr. Jaax holds a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago.


Mr Marc Donaldson

Senior Partner,
On The Ball Consulting


Marc Donaldson is the Senior Partner at On The Ball Consulting, specializing in Cocoa, Chocolate and related areas. Marc has over 30 years of experience in the development and marketing of cocoa and chocolate products, 20 of which have been in Asia. Previously he has held senior executive posts at Delfi Cocoa (part of the Petra Foods Group) where he was President and Head of Europe and also Director of Cocoa Sustainability, Heritage Fine Chocolates Pte, where he was CEO and Head of Innovation and Barry Callebaut where he was Managing Director for Asia Pacific from 1997 – 2007. Marc has in depth knowledge of cocoa & chocolate as commodities, manufacturing and process knowledge, R&D innovation, cocoa sustainability, yield development & project management, he also has hands on experience of M&A in Asia, in particular China and India


Ms Kathy Lai

Deputy Chief Executive Officer,
International Enterprise (IE) Singapore


Ms Kathy Lai was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer of International Enterprise (IE) Singapore with effect from 1 November 2016.

IE Singapore is the government agency that promotes international trade and partners Singapore companies to go global. It has a network across more than 35 locations worldwide, with a strong presence in Southeast Asia, China, India and many emerging markets.


Ms Lai’s current portfolio of responsibilities comprises the Capability Development Group (CDG), Ecosystem Development Group (EDG) and Planning Group (PG).


Ms Lai held the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the National Arts Council (NAC) from 1 November 2013 to 31 October 2016. Her role entails spearheading the development of the arts in Singapore by cultivating excellence among Singapore’s arts community, developing the supporting ecosystem and nurturing the growing audience in Singapore.


Her previous portfolios at IE Singapore include serving as Assistant Chief Executive Officer from 1 July 2007 to 31 October 2013. She oversaw the Trade Promotion Group, Trade Services and
Policy Group, Customer Services Group, and International Operations (Americas Group and Europe Group).


Prior to that, Ms Lai was Director for the Corporate Groups (International Trading, Transport & Logistics, Lifestyle and Business Services), International Operations (South Asia Group and Middle East & Africa Group), Human Resource Group and Corporate Planning Group which comprises the Strategic Planning and Statistics divisions.


From 1994 to 2000, Ms Lai was stationed at the Singapore Embassy in Washington DC as
Regional Director and Counsellor for Economics.


Ms Lai is a member of the Advisory Committee, School of Hospitality (SOH) at the Republic Polytechnic from July 2012.


Ms Lai first joined the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in 1987 as a Statistician in the Department of Statistics.


Ms Ananya Mukherjee

General Manager,
Group Internal Communications, Corporate Communications,
Olam International Limited


Ananya Mukherjee is a former business journalist and the ex-editor of HRM Asia. Ananya is an acclaimed writer with more than 1000 publications to her credit. Before moving to Singapore, she had amassed years of experience in the Indian print and television media. Her journalistic acumen covers a whole gamut of subjects including politics, lifestyle and business.


Ardh-Satya, Ananya’s first book, a collection of 20 short stories was published in 2016 and has received raving reviews from Indian and the international media. She is currently working on her second book. Her first theatre script based on the title story of Ardh-Satya will be staged in a theatre festival in Singapore in November. A passionate writer and communicator, columnist, blogger, poet, stage actor, script writer and trained dancer, Ananya currently heads internal communications in Olam International.

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