Management Team

Simon Hay

Managing Director

Mr Hay joined Leo Lithium as Managing Director and CEO in January 2022. Prior to joining Leo Lithium, Mr Hay was Chief Executive Officer of ASX-listed lithium company, Galaxy Resources Limited. The culmination of his role as CEO was the A$5 billion merger of equals with Orocobre Limited, to create the world’s fifth largest lithium producer Allkem (ASX:AKE) in mid-2021.

Mr Hay has an astute knowledge of the lithium market and is well regarded in the capital markets for having created value at Galaxy. Mr Hay is also non-executive Chairman of Battery Future Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose corporation which listed on the NYSE in December 2021. Battery Future will seek a combination with a business in the battery metals value chain. Mr Hay holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours (Chemistry), and a Master of Applied Science (Metallurgy) from the University of Melbourne.

Joe Belladonna

Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary

Joe Belladonna is commencing as Chief Financial Officer and Joint Company Secretary in August 2022. He will hold overall responsibility for the implementation of financial strategies and financial performance of the company.

Joe is a Certified Practicing Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting and Information Systems). He has over 20 years’ experience in the resources sector, including listed gold and base metal companies and held a range of management positions.

Prior to joining Leo Lithium, Joe was employed by Western Areas NL since 2005. Joe was responsible for all capital raising and convertible bonds offerings of the group. Joe has in depth knowledge and developed relationships with both local and international offtake customers, participating and leading commercial negotiations with metal buyers and smelter operators. He was a trusted advisor to the Board being responsible for strategic finance, treasury, risk and governance areas for Western Areas, including being a key team member in business development activities and negotiations.

Tom Blackwell

Project Director

Tom Blackwell, commenced as Project Director in June 2022. He has overall responsibility for the delivery of the Goulamina Lithium Project through to commissioning and handover. He will bring a planned approach to managing the project scope, cost, schedule and HSEC risks.

Tom has completed tertiary education in Engineering, Science and Project Management, plus specific learning in Business Administration and General Management from both Deakin University and INSEAD.

Tom is an experienced executive leader specialising in the development and execution of projects. He has over 20 years’ experience leading teams through the delivery of both green and brown field projects. In his most recent role, he was Project Director at Galaxy Resources, overseeing two lithium development projects in Argentina and Canada. Previously he worked for Iluka Resources and in his last role, required to oversee key strategic mineral and technological developments. Prior to this he successfully managed multiple capital projects across various phases of feasibility, execution and commissioning to establish sustainable mining and processing operations. Tom brings a strength in building teamwork and alignment in large, culturally diverse teams.

Megan Schmiede

Executive Manager Human Resources

Ms Schmiede is a Human Resources professional with over 17 years’ experience in the resources sector across a number of commodities in group, operations and project roles in Australia, Africa, South America and Canada. Prior to joining Leo Lithium she was employed by Galaxy Resources, previously Resolute Mining and Moto Goldmines. Ms Schmiede is experienced in greenfields projects, working with corporate and site-based teams. Ms Schmiede’s early career with BHP Billiton was where she gained her background in employee relations, culture, and change and leadership development.

Rathy Brandes de Roos

General Manager Technical Services

Rathy Brandes de Roos is commencing as General Manager Technical Services in August 2022. With expertise in mining engineering, she will build and lead the technical team to support, mining, commissioning and ongoing operations for the Goulamina Lithium Project.

Rathy has a Bachelor of Engineering and a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from the University of New South Wales. She has almost 30 years of mining experience across multiple commodities, open pit and underground methodologies in project, operational and corporate roles including senior management. Ms Brandes de Roos has worked in Western and Eastern Australia and Africa with Anglo Ashanti.

Seydou Semega

General Manager West Africa

Mr Semega oversees the company’s expanding footprint in West Africa, with responsibility for both building and optimising an extensive logistics network that covers Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and potentially other countries in West Africa. He also manages governmental and other key stakeholder matters in Mali.

Mr Semega holds a Management and Business Administration degree from the University of Poitiers in France and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Batna in Algeria.

Mr Semega previously worked in the US Agency for International Development for six years where he served as a representative for West-Africa and Chairman of the Foreign Service Nationals Advocacy Council, with a constituent base of over 5,000 employees.

Bolaji Okubajo

Project Manager

Bolaji Okubajo commenced as Project Manager for the Goulamina Lithium Project in June 2022. His role is to build and lead the owners’ team and oversee the EPCM for stages one and two.

Bolaji has a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Lagos, Masters in Civil Engineering from the University of London and a Masters in Business Administration from the Imperial College Business School. He has more than 12 years’ experience in delivering mining, rail and infrastructure projects in senior roles in the United Kingdom, Middle East and Africa including Guinea, South Africa, Burkina Faso and Liberia. Recent mining roles include, Project Engineering Manager on the Nimba Iron Ore Project in Guinea, Project Director for Wood on Kinross’ Tasiast Optimisation Project Stage two and Contracts Manager for Lycopodium on SEMAFO’s Natougou Gold Project.

Nathan Bartrop

Joint Company Secretary

Mr Bartrop is a corporate governance professional with over 10 years’ experience in ASX Listing Rules compliance, corporate advisory and corporate governance. Nathan has assisted numerous listed and dual listed entities across a wide range of industries as Company Secretary. During his career Mr Bartrop has also worked as an ASX listings compliance adviser at ASX in Perth and Sydney, where he was actively involved in the new listing of companies on ASX and advising listed entities on their compliance with ASX listing rules.

Mr Bartrop holds a Bachelor of Laws and Commerce from the University of Western Australia and a Graduate Diploma of Applied Corporate Governance from the Governance Institute of Australia. Mr Bartrop is a Fellow and WA State Council member of the Governance Institute of Australia.