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WE ARE PROGRAMMED TO GET YOUR TRANSACTIONS DONE, TOGETHER!

About our team

We are a culturally diversified executive team strengthened by our exceptional senior advisory board. We feel stronger, more creative, and blessed to be able to learn from each others' different cultural backgrounds, professional and human skills, interests, thought processes and views. We have lived and worked in all continents, under different political and cultural systems and views, we treasure cross cultural relationships, we have different academic and professional backgrounds, different hobbies and personal interests. But we share one passion; we love working to make things better. 

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Paul Elberse

CEO/CHAIRMAN

Paul has more than 25 years experience in senior executive positions in both international financial institutions, as well as nimble entrepreneurial companies on 4 different continents. He has held leadership, governance and ownership positions in finance (banks, pension and investment funds, insurance, investment banking), life sciences, and renewable energy development companies. He does not shy away from challenging situations and has led organizations in acquisitive growth programs, through divestments and restructurings, in international expansion plans, as well as early stage growth phases. During crises he gets motivated to get done what others deem impossible or simply too hard. He has worked hand in hand with institutions like the World Bank, IFC, IADB, export credit agencies, DFIs, banks and institutional investors.  His opinions are formed through having lived and worked in places like Amsterdam, Hamburg, Paris, Singapore, Moscow, Montevideo and New York, and having done business in more than 25 countries. Paul is passionate about the immense changes we are facing that can help us improve lives and livelihoods, including robotics, AI, VR, life sciences, and climate solutions.

Paul has worked in leadership roles serving customers around the world and developed projects in sectors as diverse as renewable energy & infrastructure, IB & financial services, life sciences & technology, food & drinks, to name but a few.  

Paul has a Bachelor degree in Business from the University of Utrecht, a MBA from the University of Hartford, Barney's School of Business and is an alum of Stanford's Senior Executive Program.  

Apart from always looking to be on the frontline of new ‘develimprovements’, Paul is proud of the role Fundacion Visionair has played in tackling widespread social and health care issues. He treasures his relationships and roles with SGH2 Energy, Institut Pasteur de Montevideo, Buxeros Capital, and Eolo Pharma. 

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Jeroen van Zanten

NON EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Jeroen is a financial services industry thought leader and transformational executive with an outstanding track record of driving business activities in new market territories on a global scale. After more than 3 decades, Jeroen boasts seasoned international experience of leading turnaround programs; transforming existing business models to align with market changes and demand. He possesses a deep knowledge of global financial markets (including APAC, LATAM & Africa) with specialties in networking, strategy planning, business digitalization and product innovation & branding. As an expert in regulatory compliance, risk frameworks, private equity structuring, multi-jurisdictional planning for HNWI and Corporations, Jeroen brings top quality functional skills and high level advisory expertise.

Jeroen earned double Master degrees in International Law and Economic Relations at the Vrije University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

As an internationally recognized expert in financial planning products and services, with global responsibilities and working experience in places like London, Amsterdam, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Miami and Geneva, Jeroen is a much sought after professional to advise on the international opportunities motivated by continuous changes in fiscal and regulatory changes globally. 

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Diego Melazzi

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Diego has held significant roles in numerous private equity and M&A deals and actively participated in setting the course for corporations in South America as a manager for McKinsey & Co. and as Director of Ficus Capital as well as large international banks. From the north of Chile, to the South of Argentina and to Brazil’s Amazonia region, he has participated in deals exceeding 700 million dollars, covering leading companies in the agricultural, renewable energy, food retail, consumer goods, transport, financial services and infrastructure sectors. His functional expertise lies much in the area of structured finance, M&A, restructurings and project development where he provides expert skills on all process steps from financial analysis to final due diligence and closing documentation. Diego has a particularly strong expertise in renewable energy and been working on transactions in wind, hydro, solar and green hydrogen, as well as water management at large.

Diego has a Master of Business Administration of University of California, Berkeley and obtained his Master degree in Economy at the Universidad de la República in Montevideo, Uruguay. 

Diego is a professor of Business Administration at the Universidad ORT in Montevideo and a valued mentor at Endeavor, the high impact entrepreneurship movement. 

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Mathias Möhrpahl

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Mathias has been working on the structuring of trans-national deals related to renewable energies, with a special focus on wind and photo-voltaic projects, mainly in developing countries. From his base in Miami and Hamburg, combined with his professional experience in places like Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Vietnam, Germany, the U.S. and others. Mathias has worked with international project developers, leading equipment manufacturers, banks, asset managers and investors on structuring transactions around utility scale projects in different stages of the life-cycle. He has been engaged in most all activities of the development cycle, from greenfield planning through to the asset management stage.

Apart from renewable energy, Mathias has managed transactions in infrastructure and financial services, where he has represented Scandinavian financial institutions in Chile and worked for large global banks. 

Mathias has a Master of Science degree in Economics from the University of London, UK and studied Economics at the University of Cologne and Kiel, Germany. 

Mathias acts as Global Sector Head of Renewable Energy for Globalscope and is in that condition in permanent contact with the Globalscope network as to opportunities in renewable energies all around the world.

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Luisa Rivas

SENIOR ASSOCIATE

Luisa, trained as an environmental engineer, is an all-round professional with a radar for sustainability at large, in many aspects of our personal and professional activities. She is ensuring UNDP goals are incorporated in our internal operations and clients are motivated to  work along latest environmental, social and governance principles. She brings an international technical and engineering experience in large civil works, including ports, roadways, viaducts and tunnels with TBM excavation, and all-round project development knowledge in infrastructure, waste water treatment and renewable energy projects (from greenfield developments, to EPC negotiations and construction, PPA contract negotiations, financial structuring and asset management). Having worked on projects and M&A transactions in Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, Vietnam, Portugal and California, Luisa has a wide and open view on intercultural values.

Luisa obtained her Environmental Engineering degree at the Universidad Nacional Experimental de Táchira in Venezuela and is pursuing a Master degree in Energy Engineering in the Universidad de la Republica in Montevideo, Uruguay. 

Everything related to ensuring our planet will remain (or become) a healthy, fair, good and motivating place drives Luisa to excellence.

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Valeria Castillo

ASSOCIATE

Valeria is a professional in Finance and International Affairs with a wide cross-sector experience in business valuations and M&A processes in different Latin American countries. Having worked with large corporates and on the investment banking side, she brings experience from both sides of the table. As a Colombian national, she has an especially deep knowledge of the Andean countries and their development challenges and opportunities. Valeria has developed a strong expertise in professional areas like financial analysis, scenario analysis and business projections and has managed transactions in the infrastructure & logistics sectors, industrial manufacturing, food and drinks, financial services and energy project developments. Valeria, as a strongly socially-oriented person, is continuously bringing new ideas and ESG expertise to our team, including best practices in impact investment processes. 

Valeria holds a Master degree in Finance and International Affairs from Universidad Externado, Colombia as well as a degree in Social Community Organization. 

Valeria has a keen eye on societal developments and volunteered at institutions like Techo, developing and building social housing soluions. 

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Pieter Nuboer

SENIOR ADVISOR

Pieter is a versatile, high-performing Business Leader, with a demonstrable track record of accomplishment in different continents, but counts with an especially deep footprint in Asia Pacific. He has been driving business development, operational transformation and growth strategies in fiercely competitive B2B manufacturing & service multinationals. Pieter has a deep understanding of market and consumer insights, marketing expertise to develop category, channel and/or segment propositions, and drive innovation.                       

As a results-focused senior executive leading for both results and purpose, with an exceptional tactical and culturally highly diverse leadership ability (formed in places as diverse as Singapore, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Sydney, Mexico City, Jakarta) and creative vision, Pieter provides invaluable strategic contributions to FICUS and our clients.

Pieter counts with an impressive list of academic and professional training including as an alum of the Senior Executive Programs at UCLA, INSEAD, Wharton University & HCLI, as a Bachelor of Business Administration of the University of Utrecht, Netherlands and has completed his Royal Dutch Army Training and Stationing. At Unilever & ICI he has completed several executive training programs. 

He has been an Advisory Board Member at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at Singapore Management University (SMU).

Pieter engages effectively with stakeholders, peers and clients; being able to foster confidence at all levels and work collaboratively to achieve shared business goals, he is a much appreciated voice for owners, executives, and investors.

Ton Klomp

SENIOR ADVISOR

Ton is a sought after energy markets expert with a strong specialization in all forms of market risk management and has a deep corporate governance experience. Ton has worked in executive board and management positions for global commodity power-houses like Cargill, Goldman Sachs/J. Aron & Co., Petroplus and Mercuria Energy in cities like Amsterdam, London, Geneva, and Singapore. After a long career focused around trading, risk management systems, storage and terminal operations, and M&A driven strategic growth programs, Ton has spent the last years mostly as advisor to boards and executives and as investor. He is an active real estate investor and has invested in numerous venture capital transactions. From his wealth of experience he brings critical notes and alternative views to most all strategic discussions. 

Apart from numerous senior executive courses and life-long learning, Ton obtained his MBA from Nijenrode University, the Netherlands. 

Ton is a prototype of a highly respected professional and investor with a deep and wide pool of professional contacts globally, always open to share the best of his network with clients and friends to ensure that what needs to get done will get done under standards of excellence.

Luca Barbarito

SENIOR ADVISOR

Luca Barbarito is a distinguished University Professor at the IULM in Milano, Italy  where he is professor in Economics and Media Economics, and in Competitive Analysis. He furthermore is Director of the Department of Business Law, Economics and Consumer Behavior. Luca has published numerous books and academic articles on matters ranging from macro and micro economical developments in industries ranging from telecommunications, large retail, automotive, media, industrial manufacturing, and technology. Through his academic career he has studied and worked with many international academic institutions and worked on topics ranging from valuations to market entry strategies by Japanese multinationals. 

Professor Barbarito is enriching the FICUS family through his inquisitive way of analyzing common and general assumptions, his data and research driven analytical approach, by providing an expert opinion on a variety of topics and industries, and his wide network of academic and industry experts.

Luca is an avid sailor having competed in many international races, including world championships, and always willing “to teach someone a lesson”. 

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Jan Elberse

SENIOR ADVISOR

Jan is a professional with a lifelong presence in San Francisco with extensive expertise in Global Capital Markets, including investment management, convertible bonds, share buy-backs, derivatives, and global cash management. A great factor playing to the benefit of our clients and partners is that Jan has developed his hands-on fixed-income and equity portfolio management, derivatives management including structuring and execution, foreign exchange risk management including design and implementation of derivative foreign exchange hedging structures working on the client side, rather than the banking side. Jan has a strong background in GAAP and FASB accounting and sox control environments and his all-round experience make him a highly appreciated thought partner for large corporates and companies in need of innovative price, forex, interest rate or other risk hedging strategies. 

Jan has worked at some of the world’s most exciting companies in tech, biotech, pharma and finance where he managed multi-billion dollar fixed-income portfolios, corporate equity and warrants positions, FX risk positions, and Corporate Treasury teams at companies including Yahoo!, Celera Corporation, Electronic Arts, Chiron Corporation, VISA International and KPMG Peat Marwick. Additionally, he has been instrumental in evaluating and designing structured debt and equity strategies for corporate   acquisitions.  Most recently, Jan worked on debt financing at Volta, a San Francisco based developer of cutting-edge electric vehicle charging networks, consulting directly with the CFO.

Jan earned his BS in International Business and MBA in Finance from the University of San Francisco, California and has complemented these degrees with advanced courses in Accounting, obtained Bloomberg expert levels and has acted as a guest lecturer at USF’s McLaren School of Business. 

​The combination of his European background and language skills -mastering Dutch, German and French-, and his 4-decade experience in San Francisco have made him a valued observer of policies on both sides of the Atlantic.  Jan has established a 2nd base in Napa Valley which he enjoys when he is not playing soccer, golf or riding his Van Moof bicycle. 
 

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Willem Sutherland

SENIOR ADVISOR

Willem is a highly experienced and forward-looking leader in Global Finance across developed and emerging markets with an extensive network in the US, Latin America, Canada and Europe. Originally from Europe, a 6 language polyglot, he spent most of his career living in the USA (his current home base), Mexico, Sao Paolo and Singapore providing strategic support and bespoke financing for developers, financial sponsors, multinationals, governments  and investors. 

As a Director at ING Bank -CEO for Latin America and heading up the American Infrastructure finance and Advisory business, leading a team of 120 executives- and ABN AMRO Bank, he structured award-winning deals for large corporations in the US, Canada as well as Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile typically anticipating and driving future developments in the market: ESG, privatizations, new infra asset classes in the US, the development of a mix of novel financing strategies and the incorporation of long term institutional investors.

 

Willem has a sharp focus on integrity in business, KYC standards, compliance oversight and minimization of operational risks on the road to long-term financial success. He champions the value of listening and asking questions in order to connect the dots, where others may not always find the right answer.

The incorporation of environmental and social responsibility has been key throughout his career, values which create a perfect fit with FICUS’ interests in the development of PPP initiatives, in particular in areas such as Infrastructure (Transport, Energy, Water, Data), Food and Agri.

 

Willem holds a MSc in Business & Engineering from the University of Twente and completed executive courses at Harvard -Sustainable Strategy-, the University of Rotterdam - ESG AIF, and advanced financial products programs at Insead and Kellogg.

 

He is a trusted advisor and thought partner to large corporations, institutional and high net worth investors alike, and is an investor and board member for firms ranging from nifty venture companies to financial institutions in different geographies. The financial community knows him as a panelist and speaker at the EU-American Chamber, World Economic Forum, Council of the Americas and IDB, and at infrastructure conferences. He is a true believer in the need to accelerate joint investments in a better planet for all. In his spare time, he is an avid paddle tennis player, alpine skier and enjoys sailing on the Long Island Sounds.