Robert Chess — Chairman
Rob currently serves as Chairman of Nektar Therapeutics, in addition to his work at OPXBIO. Nektar Therapeutics is a publicly listed company (NASDAQ: NKTR) that develops improved pharmaceutical products using its innovative drug delivery platforms. Rob joined Nektar in 1991 as its first non-founder employee, and was the company’s CEO through 1999. Since 1999, he has served as Nektar’s chairman and was also the acting CEO in 2006. Rob was previously the co-founder and president of Penederm, Inc., a publicly traded dermatological pharmaceutical company that was sold to Mylan Laboratories. He has held management positions at Intel Corporation and Metaphor Computer Systems (now part of IBM), and was a member of the first President Bush’s White House staff. Rob is chairman of Bio Venture for Global Health and a member of the Board of Directors of Metabolex, and is on the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Technology and the Committee for Economic Development. He is a member of the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he teaches courses in entrepreneurship and management of health care innovation, and is an adjunct fellow at Stanford’s Center for Health Policy. Rob received his B.S. degree in engineering from the California Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from Harvard.
Jon is a managing general partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV) in Menlo Park, California. He began his career as a software programmer for mainframe maker Amdahl Corp and was a vice president at Sun Microsystems prior to joining MDV in 1991. He is a Senior Fellow at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school) and lecturer teaching the Lean Launch Pad with Steve Blank in MS&E at Stanford University. Jon holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics and astrophysics from the University of Colorado.
Jonathan is a Managing Director based in New York. Jonathan oversees USRG’s investments in biofuels, bio-based chemicals and infrastructure. Prior to co-founding USRG, Jonathan was the CEO and co-founder of Sundial, a leader in provisioning utility services online, and COO of Visible Path, a Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers funded start-up company. Jonathan was a Business Development Manager at General Electric Energy and spent more than five years with Booz, Allen & Hamilton consulting on large M&A transactions in the energy and life sciences sectors and advising the Environmental Protection Agency on policy issues in the Superfund, Clean Air and Drinking Water divisions. Jonathan serves on the Board of Directors for Renewable Energy Group (REG), Niagara Generation, Fulcrum BioEnergy, Westerly Wind and General Compression.
Jonathan holds a joint MBA and MS in Resource Policy from the University of Michigan and a BA from Tufts University.
William D. Lese
William is a co-founder and managing director of Braemar Energy Ventures, a venture capital firm headquartered in New York City that focuses exclusively on investing in early- to mid-stage energy technology companies, primarily in the United States and Canada. Mr. Lese has more than 24 years of research, operating, and venture capital experience in energy and environmental businesses. Prior to co-founding Braemar, Mr. Lese was a partner with Mantis Holdings, Inc., a venture capital firm focused on investing in environmental and energy efficiency companies, where he concentrated on emerging technologies for converting industrial waste streams into value-added products. Prior to Mantis Holdings, he was the director of business development for NPS Industries, Inc., an international manufacturer of engineered equipment for the power industry. Mr. Lese’s business development activities included managing a joint venture with Consolidated Edison Co., and managing other key customer relationships. Prior to joining NPS Industries, he was one of the original employees of Sithe Energies, Inc. (an affiliate of Vivendi, SA), which became one of the world’s largest independent power producers. At Sithe Energies, Mr. Lese had project and technical oversight responsibilities, including managing several power projects. Mr. Lese has both chaired and participated on numerous panels focusing on energy technology investment opportunities and major energy issues. He currently serves on boards of directors of EnerNOC, Celunol, Coaltek, and Utility Associates. He is chairman of the board of Solicore and serves as a board observer for Stion, Enerkem, and Fractal Systems. Mr. Lese has both a B.A. in physics and an M.S. in energy science from New York University.
Dirk is the Managing Partner of Altira Group LLC, a Denver-based venture capital firm focused on equity investments in the companies developing the enabling technologies of tomorrow’s energy world. Mr. McDermott has over 25 years as an investor, manager and scientist in the energy industry. His experience includes operating in the upstream oil-and-gas sector as the chief geophysicist of a major independent producer and participating in over 100 financings in the energy business. Mr. McDermott currently serves on the Board of Directors for Hyperion Power, MicroSeismic, DHI and Beyond Compliance. He is also a past director of Research Partnership for a Secure Energy America (RPSEA) and is the chairman of the Petroleum Investment Committee at Stanford University. In addition, he is a member of the Colorado Venture Capital Investment Advisory Committee. Mr. McDermott has an MBA and a Master of Science in Geophysics from Stanford University.
Perry joined the OPXBIO Board as Audit Committee Chair in 2012, bringing a wide range of experience in finance, management and governance. Having spent 28 years in a range of capacities with Celanese and Hoechst, Mr. Premdas most recently held the position of Chief Financial Officer and served as a member of the Board of Management at Celanese AG in Germany. A U.S. citizen with significant international experience, Mr. Premdas was named one of Europe’s best CFOs in a 2004 Institutional Investor survey of buy-side analysts and portfolio managers. Mr. Premdas also served as CFO of Centeon LLC, a global blood plasma joint venture between Hoechst and Rhone Poulenc, as well as CFO of Hoechst Celanese. He held key positions in finance and international management with Celanese operations in Germany, Mexico and the U.S. Perry currently sits on the Boards of Balchem Corporation, Compass Minerals International, Inc., and J.M. Huber Corporation. Perry has also served on boards of listed companies and joint ventures in Mexico, Canada, China and the U.S. Perry holds an MBA from Harvard University and a BA from Brown University.