Gunther Lottmann
CEO at Grupo Fortaleza, Guatemala: (Invited Talk #1)

Mr. Gunther Lottmann is CEO at Grupo Fortaleza, Guatemala. He is President and Senior Technologist at Proyectos Elasticos S.A. with over 35 years’ experience in the Natural Rubber Industry with responsibility over marketing, product manufacture, processing factories and plantations.He has established and managed several integrated projects starting from rubber nurseries to the export of specialized value added products.  Mr. Lottmann led and managed the first successful natural rubber forest carbon credit project worldwide: “Documenting and selling carbon credits from a Natural Rubber Forest”. He is actively involved as Chairman and Speaker in multiple regional and international forums on Natural Rubber and Latex technology and marketing. He had published several fundamental research efforts and review works over 30 years in Latin America, Europe and Asia.Developed “Low Nitrosamine Latex” and “New Preservation System” for Natural Rubber Latex.



Jom Jacob
Senior Economist at ANRPC : (Invited Talk #2)

Mr.Jom Jacob has been in the rubber industry for more than 30 years as an analyst. He possesses extensive experience in analysing rubber market dynamics and forecasting industry trends. Jacob closely monitors rubber development policies and programmes of natural rubber producing countries. Maintains a wide network among industry players and professionals in commodity markets, investment banks and hedge funds across countries.Currently based in Kuala Lumpur,as Senior Economist at the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC), an intergovernmental organization of the countries producing natural rubber. Prior to that, he was with the Rubber Board of India at various capacities. Jacob holds a Masters in Statistics from the Kerala University in India and M. Phil. in Applied Economics from JNU, New Delhi. He has to his credit about 100 published papers and analytical articles on rubber industry.



Mathew George
General Manager (Petrochemicals), India Oil Corporation

Mr. Mathew George is currently working as General Manager (Petrochemicals), handling Indian Oil’s Petrochemicals Business at Mumbai, India. Mr. Mathew has held various key assignments in Indian Oil, having worked in the Aviation, Technical Services, Lubricants, International Trade and Petrochemicals departments at various locations. He was a founding member of IndianOil’s subsidiary, Lanka IOC, in Colombo. Mr. Mathew George is on various Governmental Advisory Boards/Sub-Committees of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Ministry of External Affairs – Pakistan Desk, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Surface Transport, Directorate General of Shipping, Directorate-General of Foreign Trade, Central Board of Excise and Customs and Bureau of Indian Standards where he contributes in Policy Formulation, Specifications and Standard Operating Procedures. Mathew is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, India (FIE) and a Member of the Aeronautical Society of India (MAeSI) besides being a member of the AIMA.



Rakesh Batra
Partner & Automotive Sector Leader

Mr. Rakesh Batra  has extensive experience of over 30 years in both corporate and consulting roles, working with Indian and multinational clients. He is the firm’s Automotive Sector Leader in India. He is a regular presenter  and participates in panel discussions at various conferences in India and abroad. Mr.Rakesh brings significant management and consulting experience in India, U.S. and Australia in the Automotive, Industrial Equipment and Manufacturing industries with deep strategy, dealer performance, sales and marketing, supply chain,  procurement, operations, and automotive retail expertise.



Dr. K J Joseph
Professor at Centre for Development Studies:(Panelist)

Dr K. J. Joseph, Professor at Centre for Development Studies is the President Globelics and the Editor-in-Chief of Innovation and Development published by Taylor and Francis.. Earlier positions that he held include Expert in Innovation Studies, Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, Visiting Senior Fellow at RIS, New Delhi, under the Ministry of External Affairs; Professor (on secondment from CDS) at Jawaharlal Nehru University (CSSP) and IT Policy Consultant of UNESCAP for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and the Yunnan Province of China.  He has also been a consultant to UNCTAD. His areas of expertise include, plantation agriculture,  innovation and development with focus on information technology, industry studies especially electronics; FDI, trade, globalization and WTO, regional development with focus on Kerala economy. He also serves as the Editorial Board Member of International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and development, Inter-science Publishers; International journal of Institutions and Economics; African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development , Routledge (AJSTID)  and Millennial Asia, Sage Publications.



The Permanent Representative of Côte d'Ivoire to International Commodity Organizations

H.E.M Aly TOURE is the Permanent Representative of Côte d'Ivoire to International Commodity Organizations and is based In London, with fourteen years of experience in the commodity field. He serves as the interface between the Government of Côte d'Ivoire and the International Commodity Bodies(ICBs). Prior to that position, he was Deputy Permanent Representative from 2004 to 2010. He is currently the Chairman of the International Rubber Study Group and its Strategic Review Working group, Chairman of the International Coffee Council,Spokesman for Cocoa Producing Countries at the International Cocoa Organization, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Finance committee of the Inter-African Coffee Organization and Chairman of the Technical Restructuring Committee for the Cocoa Producers’ Alliance.

In a recent past, he was chairman of the Governing Council of the Common Fund for Commodity ( 2015-2017) and chairman of the International Grain Council ( 2016-2017).

Mr Aly TOURE is a Graduate from the University of Greenwich in London in Pharmaceutical Sciences.



Mr. Vinod Simon
Chairman, Rubber Skill Development Council (RSDC) New Delhi

Mr.Vinod Simon is the Executive Director of Simmco Rubber and Plastics (P) Ltd, Chennai. He is currently the Chairman of the Rubber Skill Development Council (RSDC) and the past President of the All India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA). Mr. Simon was a member of the Rubber Board of India. The young and dynamic Mr Simon holds important positions in various organisations and has represented the Industry body in different expert committees in the Govt. of India. He is very committed and experienced in organising various important National and International expos and conferences. Championing the cause of the Indian Non Tyre Sector, he has made many presentations on different platforms both in India and Abroad.



Dr. James Jacob
Director, Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII), former Chairman of IRRDB, Chairman of Sectional Committee on Rubber and Rubber Products (PCD 13) under the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)- Invited Talk #6

Dr. James Jacob, Director of Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) under the Rubber Board, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India is a double-doctorate, Commonwealth Fellow and a University rank medalist.  He is an alumnus of University of Agricultural Science, Bengaluru, Imperial College, London and Rothamsted International, Hertfordshire, England.  After completing his doctoral degree from England, he worked as a scientist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Centre, Maryland, USA researching the impact of climate change and rising concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere on natural vegetation. Quitting a lucrative scientific career in America, he returned to India in 1995 to take up the position of Deputy Director (Physiology) at RRII and in 2006 he became its Director. 

Dr. Jacob is the current Chairman of the Sectional Committee on Rubber and Rubber Products (PCD 13) under the Bureau of Indian Standards.  He is a member of the Environment Committee of the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries and a member of the Governing Council of Indian Rubber Manufacturers’ Research Association, Mumbai.  Dr. Jacob is a former Chairman of the International Rubber Research and Development Board (IRRRDB) and President of the Indian Society for Plantation Crops. He was also Head of the IRRDB Specialist Group on Physiology and Convener of its Task Force on Climate Change for several years.

Dr. Jacob’s areas of research include photosynthesis and crop productivity, climate change and sustainable development.  He has more than 130 research publications and three edited books to his credit. Dr. Jacob is also the Editor-in-Chief of Rubber Science, a peer-reviewed international scientific journal published from RRII. 



Dr. R. K. Matthan
Director of polymer consultancy services (P) Ltd: (Panelist)

Dr Matthan is Director of polymer consultancy services (P) Ltd and is an internationally recognised consultant working across East/South East Asian countries, Europe, USA and Latin America . He is also director of the US based Vystar Corporation - a speciality natural rubber products brand leader. He and his team has been associated with the  commercial launch of several new sustainable grades of natural rubber including the Ultra Low Protein Vytex Rubber, Nitrosamine Free Rubber and No ammonia Preserved Latices. He serves on the governing councils of the IRI, the IRMRA and is a honorary life member of the managing committee of the AIRIA. He also serves on the research advisory committee of the RRII. He is a governor of the leprosy research and mission hospital at Vellore.He is the K.M.Philip awardee of 2008 and the  2014 Hancock medal of the IOMMM for his services to the Iindian and global rubber industry.



Mr. Dharmakirti Joshi
Chief Economist, CRISIL Limited India

At CRISIL, his purview includes demand forecasting, assessing macroeconomic scenarios, and analyzing and monitoring the impact of macroeconomic domestic and external shocks on the economy. He has extensive experience in macroeconomic analysis and medium-term assessments of the Indian economy.

He was member of the Working Group of Savings for the 12th Five Year Plan. He was the co-Chairman of Economic Affairs Committee of Bombay Chamber of Commerce and is currently member of Economic Policy Group of Confederation of Indian Industry and Indian Merchant Chamber. He regularly writes for leading newspapers and expresses his views on the economy in the electronic media. He often gets invited to pre-policy consultations at RBI and was recently invited to Prime Minister’s meeting with economists.

Joshi has spent 27 years in economic research and consultancy. He spent 11 years at the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) before moving on to the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), New Delhi, and then CRISIL. At NCAER, Joshi worked on short and medium term macroeconomic forecasting using Computable General Equilibrium and econometric models, macroeconomic reforms and fiscal policy related issues. At CERC, he worked on regulatory, competition and tariff related issues in the Indian power sector.

Joshi holds a Masters degree in Economics and has attended program on Macroeconomic Policy and Management at Harvard University. He was also a visiting scholar to Economic Research Unit of University of Pennsylvania.



Dr. Lekshmi Nair
Head, Economics and Statistics, International Rubber Study Group

Dr Lekshmi Nair is presently Head of Economics and Statistics at the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) based in Singapore. In this role, she oversee regular publications and projects of the IRSG Secretariat, coordinating the Sustainable Natural Initiative and organizing rubber workshops /seminars of the Secretariat across regions. She presented in various international conferences in Asia, Europe, Africa and Americas and represents IRSG in commodity dialogues and ISO/TC 45 meetings. 

Dr Nair joined the IRSG as Senior Economist in 2008. She has extensive experience in commodity research and in the rubber industry. Prior to joining IRSG, Dr Nair has research and academic association with the University of London, the Australian National University, Canberra and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.  

Dr Nair holds a PhD in Economics from the University of London and attended SOAS, UK. She is a Commonwealth Scholar




Mr. N. Dharmaraj
Former President of UPASI: (Panelist)

Mr. N. Dharmaraj has over 40 years’ experience in Plantations business.  He is an Industry veteran and has been involved in number of industrial associations.  He was a member of Tea Board of India and the founding Convener of Golden Leaf India Awards (TGLIA) which is the first ever structured Tea competition in the world. He was the Chairman of UPASI Commodities Exchange which has got approval from the FMC to start future trading in India and was the President of UPASI in 2015-16. He is currently a member of Tea Council of South India constituted by the Tea Board.



Mr. Rajiv Budhraja
Director General Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association New Delhi

Mr.Rajiv Budhraja is Director-General of Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA), the New Delhi-based apex industry body representing the Indian auto-tyre manufacturing industry accounting for over 90% of the country’s tyre production.  Mr.Budhraja has nearly three decades of experience in industry bodies and had served organizations such as PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Confederation of Export Units and Indian Paper Manufacturers’ Association before joining the ATMA in 1997.  Mr.Budhraja was a Member of the Rubber Board of India twice, representing the auto-tyre sector and also represents ATMA in several governmental and institutional bodies.



Sandana Dass
MD/CEO R1 International - Panelist

Sandana Dass joined the industry in 1973 as a “Rubber Scholar” with the Malayan Rubber Fund Board (MRFB) in Kuala Lumpur and trained in rubber marketing and promotions in the MRFB offices in London, Milan, Vienna and Hamburg. 

Whilst with MARDEC from 1974 – 2001, he served as the Director of Marketing & Operations & Investments for MARDEC Group as well as the Managing Director of MARDEC International Sdn. Bhd.

Dass conceptualized, formed and manages the R1 International Group as its Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer from its Headquarters in Singapore since 2001.  He oversees R1 International Group of Companies as Chairman in Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, China, India, Cambodia and USA with an annual turnover which had reached about US$3 billion.

With over 40 years of experience in the rubber industry, Sandana Dass has acted as expert advisor on rubber trade and marketing to the Government.  He has been actively involved as Chairman and Speaker in international forums on rubber trading and marketing and has served as the Chairman of the Industry Advisory Panel and the Chairman of the Statistical Committee and Economics Committee of the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG).  He was a member of the Malaysian Rubber Exchange and Licensing Board, the Management Committee of the International Rubber Association (IRA) and the Chairman of the Rubber Committee of the Singapore Commodity Exchange Limited (SICOM).

Sandana Dass graduated with a degree in Economics and a Masters in Entrepreneurship.  He has attended intensive courses in top management and strategic marketing in the Asian Institute of Management, Insead and the Harvard Business School.



Datuk Dr. Abdul Aziz bin S.A. Kadir
Secretary-General IRRDB - Panelist

Dr. Abdul Aziz has served the natural rubber industry for more than 50 years including 12 years as the Director of the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia (RRIM) before being appointed as the first Director-General of the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) from 1998 to 1999. His expirence included serving as a member of the Board of several organisations including Felda, RISDA, University Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM).

Since 2001, he has served as the Secretary-General of the International Rubber Research and Development Board (IRRDB), an association of rubber research institutes from 22 countries. The objectives of the organisation include fostering cooperation in natural rubber R&D, providing a forum for concerted action on matters of mutual interests. With funding from the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), the IRRDB has organised training programmes for the Corynespora Leaf Disease in Asia and Africa, the South American Leaf Blight in Brazil. The IRRDB was the project excution agency for the CFC-funded project to enhance income of rubber smallholders in Central and West Africa.



Tomy Abraham Kurissumoottil
Planter & Trader - Rubber, Cashew and Coconut

A graduate  from  Sir Sayed  College,  Thaliparambu,  Kannur started his business in 1981. President  of  Kannur District  Rubber  Dealers Association( 2003  - 2018 ), President   of  Indian  Rubber  Dealers  Federation (2015  -  2018)

Planter & Trader -  Rubber,  Cashew  and Coconut

Best President international award winner   (Lions Club 2004 – 2005 ), cabinet member Lions Club International.



C. Vinayaraghavan
Executive Director and President for SBU(B) of HML

Joined HML in 1977 as Assistant Manager.   He has held various positions - from Chief Manager (Estate Administration), Chief Manager – Co-ordination of Overseas Projects, Outsourcing Operations, Head - Clearing & Shipping Department, Head of Human Resources Department to General Manager (Rubber Division), Vice president (Rubber) during the past 42 years of service, before he became the Executive Director and then the President for SBU(B) of HML in 2012.

He is credited with vast experience in the industry and has contributed immensely to the Tea and Rubber Industry, giving leadership and direction by actively taking part in various industry related associations.  

Mr. Vinayaraghavan is also the past Chairman of APK and is the Executive Committee Member & Trustee of UPASI.



Dr R. Mukhopadhyay
Director & CE of Hari Shankar Singhania Elastomer & Tyre Research Institute (HASETRI) and Director (R&D of JK Tyre & Industries Ltd.

Dr. R.Mukhopadhyay graduated from University of Calcutta in Chemistry, did his Masters in applied chemistry & Ph,D in Rubber Technology from IIT Kharagpur, India,  He also did his  graduation in Chemical Engineering from The Institution of Engineers (I).  He is associated with Rubber & Tyre Industry for the last 43 years .   He is the Director & CE of Hari Shankar Singhania Elastomer & Tyre Research Institute (HASETRI) and Director (R&D of JK Tyre & Industries Ltd...  He is the Chairman of Indian Rubber Institute (IRI) and Fellow Member of various Professional bodies. Member of Governing Council of Rubber Skill Development Council, under National Skill Development Corporation, Govt. of India. He is a member of Advisory Board of Certification Services, British Standards Institute (BSI), India and BSI APAC Certification Body Impartiality Committee (CBIC), British Standards Institution (BSI) Asia Pacific Region. Member of Board of Studies of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and Academic Council of JK Lakshmipat University, Jaipur, India.

He has published more than 175 research and Technical Papers in National & International journals and seven Patents from his research work



Dr AK Krishna Kumar
Principal Advisor IL&FS Cluster Development Initiative Pvt Ltd.

Dr AK Krishna Kumar, a Ph.D from IIT Kharagpur  and currently holding the position of Principal Advisor was  Executive Director in IL&FS Cluster Development  Initiative Pvt Ltd. He established the agri,food processing and rural enterprises development vertical in IL&FS and  was heading the Cluster based initiatives of the Company in sectors like textiles, leather, agri & food processing, dairy, rubber etc. and has conceptualized and implemented several value chain projects across sectors in India and  Africa. He also spearheaded the development of regional economic /area development projects embracing the principles of growth pole and regional competitive advantage. He has also handled many prestigious assignments with multi-lateral and bilateral organisations . Dr krishna Kumar also was heading the international operations of IL&FS cluster development initiative. Besides he has also designed skill and capacity development programmes in Agri and food processing sectors  He has served on many committees of the Govt of India, state governments and industry and trade associations.

Prior to joining IL&FS he was the Rubber Production Commissioner and Ex Officico Member of the Rubber Board under Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. He has served on several committees of Govt. of India, Academic and Research Institutions at various levels including policy making. He has more than 70 publications and has guided Ph.d and Post graduate students. He is widely travelled and is a passionate development professional with focus on creating institutions which can provide economies of scale under robust institutional frame work of marginal and small  producers across sectors



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