Mr. Kessler has over 20 years of experience on Wall Street, starting his career in investment banking at Morgan Stanley, and subsequently investment research at Goldman Sachs. On the principal side, he has worked for various firms, including Oracle Partners and Frontpoint Partners, a Morgan Stanley owned investment vehicle focused on emerging markets. Mr. Kessler is the Founder, Director and Chief Executive Officer of African Discovery Group, Inc. (“AFDG”), a publicly-held, dedicated African business development company he founded in 2017. Mr. Kessler had been responsible for substantial advisory and capital raise for the benefit of Africa, including numerous landmark transactions on the African continent. Prior to founding AFDG, he served from 2014-17 as Managing Director at Ladenburg Thalmann, an Investment Bank that was one of the original founders of the New York Stock Exchange in 1876. Mr. Kessler serves as a board member of Ogelle, a Nigerian-based social media company, and Port Energy, a Senegal-based oil & gas exploration company, and Mr. Kessler is the Founder of African Discovery Foundation, a philanthropic organization focused on charitable contributions for education and health care resources in Africa. Mr. Kessler holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania (Cum Laude) and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Mr. Green has decades of experience on the buy-side on both private equity and hedge fund platforms, where he has focused on debt, equity, performing and non-performing investments across multiple industries. He is currently the CFO of AFDG. He is also consulting to a fund raised to invest in minority depository institutions that primarily lend or facilitate lending to small businesses in low-and moderate-income areas or to low-and moderate-income individuals in order to promote community development, generate job growth and economic development. He is assisting the fund in establishing its back office operational and financial controls. Mr. Green has worked for the last several years as a Partner at Onset Capital Partners, an opportunistic merchant bank platform focused on power, renewables, and investing in various additional industries. Previously, he served as a Senior Member of Houlihan Lokey’s Illiquid Financial Assets practice, where he focused on providing strategic advice for Fund Mergers and Acquisitions, non-core asset disposition and strategic fund raising. Prior to that, Mr. Green worked on various hedge fund and private equity platforms including Plainfield Asset Management (a $5.5 billion hedge fund platform), ArcherPoint Capital Management (a partnership-based private equity platform he co-founded) and Doughty Hanson & Co. (a multi-billion international private equity sponsor). He currently serves on the board of Choice Payment Solutions, a privately owned fintech SAAS business focused on providing point of service financing solutions. He has previously served on the boards of Skylink Aviation Limited, a privately-held air logistics business; MTI Holdings, Inc., a high mix, low volume contract manufacturer; North American Membership Group, the world’s largest lifestyle affinity membership organization; Dunlop Standard Aerospace Group, an integrated supplier of aftermarket parts and services to the aerospace and defense industry; PQS Acquisition Corp, North American business of FL Group, the largest independent blender and distributor of automotive lubricants; Knowles Electronics Holdings, Inc., a leading international manufacturer of technologically advanced products in micro-acoustics; and Tumi Inc., a leading, high-end luggage and business accessory brand amongst others. Mr Green serves as the Chief Financial Officer for African Discovery Group. Mr. Green holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a postgraduate honors degree in Financial Accounting from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Mr Meiring holds over 30 years of experience in the farming sector and as an Agricultural Specialist. He has produced numerous crops including tobacco, wheat and maize, serving previously as chairperson of a tobacco farmers study group of South Africa. For 14 years, he ran farming operations for Woolworths South Africa, supplying multinational conglomerates, including Woolworths South Africa, Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s with fresh produce. In 1996, Mr. Meiring introduced iceberg lettuce into the South African market. His agricultural projects on the African continent include the South African Government Department Rural Development and Land Reform; planning phase for sugarcane production in the Lavumisa area, Swaziland; feasibility studies in conjunction with the Dutch government on the agricultural opportunity in 4 countries (Botswana, Zambia, Kenya and Angola); in the Solwezi area in Zambia to production of bamboo sugarcane and pongamia (diesel tree); in Congo-Brazzaville, the identification of 50 000 hectares of arable land in the Niara valley close to Dolisi; in Sierra Leone the identification and mapping of 70 000 hectares over several kingdoms in the Mayomba district earmarked for agriculture development. Full business plan was submitted. He also acted as Project Director for the development of 124 000 ha in Nigeria exclusively for agricultural use. Project was done in EDO Esate close to Benin City. In Cattle Farming & Game Breeding he has been involved in the farming of cattle (beef) and game breeding since 1998 consulting South African Farmers.
Mr. Meiring holds a BSc in Agriculture and a Plant Production degree from the University of Pretoria, having studied Courses on Sustainable and Biological Farming Doctor Graham Said (Australia). He holds numerous international accreditations (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, EurepGAP and GLOBALG.A.P.) on sustainable farming and manufacturing of High Quality Compost from University of Stellenbosch.
Mr. Shylaja has over 15 years of experience in the field of plant tissue culture, specializing in horticulture and floriculture crops. He has built and managed commercial high-tech tissue culture labs with the capacity to produce 7 to 10 million plants seedlings annually with 150 to 200 professional staff and has experience in log scale farming, greenhouse production and research and development. He has worked extensively in India and Africa serving as the former technical advisor at the Mikkele Institute of Technology in Ethiopia in the plant tissue culture in greenhouse division, where he played a vital role in producing 22 million sugar cane tissue culture plantlets to an Ethiopian sugar corporation in Addis Ababa. He has also held leading positions with well-known agriculture biotech companies in India and the Netherlands. He earned a Masters of Science (MSc) degree in Biotechnology from Bharathidasan University India and his MBA in international business from Annamalai University in India.
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