AFYREN, which produces high-value bio-based building blocks with fermentation technologies, is announcing that it is further strengthening its leadership teams through three strategic appointments. After securing €60m of financing to create its industrial subsidiary AFYREN NEOXY (joint-venture with the SPI industrial projects fund operated by Bpifrance), AFYREN has appointed Jean Saint-Donat, Maxime Cordonnier and Fabrice Orecchioni.
AFYREN NEOXY: Jean Saint-Donat will lead the joint industrial subsidiary with Bpifrance’s SPI fund
Jean Saint-Donat has been appointed CEO of the joint-venture AFYREN NEOXY after heading up business development for over two years at AFYREN. This will enable the entire company to benefit from his expertise gained over the last 27 years in the industrial chemicals sector.
Jean Saint-Donat graduated from Ecole Centrale Paris and has a postgraduate DEA in chemical engineering, and began his career in 1991 in chemicals with the ELF group, as a production engineer then production manager.
In 1995, he joined ELF ATOCHEM with a mission to support the executive management team to map out its growth strategy for petrochemicals and polymers. Over four years, he carried out a number of economic and strategic analyses, focused in particular on acquisitions and industrial investment projects.
In 2000, ATOFINA appointed him to lead a technical polymers business, which was rolling out a strategy for growth in Asia-Pacific for two products – Rilsan® and Pebax® – through the globalization of its sales and marketing teams.
From 2004, he spent 12 years with the ARKEMA group, serving as General Manager Fluorochemicals for the Europe-Middle East-Asia region from 2004 to 2009, then for ARKEMA Inc. from 2009 to 2011, and lastly President EMEA for the Functional Additives business unit (2001-2015) and the Coating Resins unit (2015-2016).
AFYREN: two major appointments
The parent company AFYREN has appointed two new directors to support its development and lead its future projects.
Maxime Cordonnier (CFO) will be in charge of finance for AFYREN
After studying engineering at CentraleSupélec and completing a Master of Science degree in Control Systems at Imperial College London, Maxime Cordonnier joined Capgemini Consulting in 2005 as a Senior Consultant. Over four years, he worked on a range of strategic audit and business transformation missions in France and internationally in the Healthcare and Industry sectors.
With his experience in the Healthcare sector, he joined the pharmaceutical company Lundbeck as Business Research Manager in 2009.
In 2011, he took on a position as Investment Manager with Caisse des Dépôts in Paris, where he notably completed around 10 operations to invest in innovative companies across diverse sectors, from biotech to intelligent cars.
He moved to Bpifrance in 2014 and helped create the SPI – Sociétés de Projets Industriels – industrial projects fund, overseeing its minority investments (up to 49%) until 2018 in companies developing innovative technologies with industrial scale-up projects. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of three companies (YposKesi – gene and cell therapy / Evertree – protein-based green chemicals / Carbiolice – bioplastics).
Fabrice Orecchioni (COO) will head up operations for AFYREN With an Executive MBA from HEC Paris following his bioprocess engineering degree from Ecole de Biologie Industrielle (EBI), Fabrice Orecchioni began his career as a process engineer with Amylum France for three years, where his responsibilities included improving purification processes. He then held various operational roles with Ajinomoto Foods Europe, a fermentation-based amino acids producer, before being appointed to head up production for its French site.
In 2008, he moved to the biofuels sector with Abengoa Bioenergy France as Operations Manager to prepare the future industrial unit’s operations. Following the successful building and launch of the maize-based bioethanol production unit, he became Plant Manager in 2009.
In 2012, he joined BioAmber Inc, a US green chemicals company, as Senior VP Operations, based in Ontario and in charge of the technology’s industrialization. In 2014, he became Chief Operations Officer of the company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and also President of the joint-venture set up with Mitsui & Co. His missions included supervising the design, construction, startup and operations for the $140m North American succinic acid production plant. In 2017, he was appointed to head up BioAmber Inc, notably leading its IPO on the Toronto stock exchange (TSX). At the start of 2018, Fabrice then joined AFYREN, working on various aspects including scaling up its technology. “In line with the scale of our industrial project, AFYREN needed to further strengthen its teams with experienced profiles, who bring perfect knowledge of our sector. Their mission will be to successfully lead the development of our ambitious project, while enabling AFYREN to achieve a change of scale”, explains Nicolas Sordet, AFYREN’s CEO. “We are delighted to welcome Maxime and Fabrice on board as part of our team, further
strengthening our historically R&D capabilities. We are also delighted that Jean has agreed to head up our first production subsidiary, capitalizing on all his industrial experience and expertise”, confirms Jeremy Pessiot, CTO and co-founder of AFYREN.
In order to meet the growing needs of industrial firms to reduce the use of petroleum-based derivatives across their production chains, AFYREN produces bio-molecules, derived from the recovery of non-food biomass, that are widely used in the cosmetics, flavors and fragrances, human and animal nutrition, and fine chemicals sectors. This renewable carbon production, aligned with the circular economy, is achieved using globally-patented fermentation technologies, built up through 10 years of research.
Founded in 2012, AFYREN has 15 employees at its sites in Lyon and Clermont-Ferrand. AFYREN won the 2030 Worldwide Innovation Challenge in the “plant proteins and plant chemistry” category, and was a French Tech – Green Chemistry ambassador at COP21. AFYREN’s development is being supported by the Auvergne Regional Council, Bpifrance, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME).