Leadership Team

Board of Directors

Jim Askew

Non-Executive Chairman

B. Mining Eng., M. Eng. Sci., FAusIMM, MSME, MAICD. 


Jim is a mining engineer with over 45 years international experience, some 35 of them as a Board member and/or Chief Executive Officer for a wide range of Australian and international publicly listed mining, mining finance and other mining related companies. He has had a continuous involvement with the African mining industry since 1985 and joined the Syrah Board as Chair in 2014.

Jim has been a CEO of public resource companies for some 20 years and served on Boards internationally since 1983. Jim currently holds non-executive director positions at Evolution Mining (ASX) and Endeavour Mining (TSX). Other past listed company directorships include Rayrock Limited (TSX), PMI Gold (Chairman), Sino Gold (Chairman), Asian Mineral Resources (Chairman), Eldorado Gold (Non-Executive Director), Yamana Gold (Non-Executive Director), Golden Shamrock Mines and Golden Star. He was awarded the Presidents Medal of the AusIMM for services to the global mining industry in 2018, additional to other industry awards.

Shaun Verner

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer


Shaun joined the Company in October 2016 and was appointed CEO & MD in February 2017. Prior to joining Syrah, Shaun was at BHP for 20 years in a variety of executive roles, with extensive international commercial and operational experience across a range of commodities including copper and base metals, uranium and thermal and metallurgical coal. Shaun has extensive general management and cross-functional leadership experience, focussed on the integration of commercial, operations, and supply chain excellence, with a particular interest on China’s growth and impact on the evolution of commodity and industrial markets.


Jose Caldeira

Non-Executive Director


Jose is a highly experienced legal and regulatory professional with over 25 years experience in the legal industry. He is one of the prominent lawyers in Mozambique. He is currently senior partner at Sal Caldeira Advogados, Lda in Mozambique, one of the leading law firms in Mozambique.

He was appointed Non-Executive Director of Syrah in July 2014 and brings extensive experience in suppling legal and regulatory consulting services in the fields of natural resources, foreign investment, infrastructure, civil, administrative, commercial and labour law, as well as litigation.

Lisa Bahash

Non-Executive Director


Lisa Bahash was appointed as an independent Non-Executive Director in July 2018. Lisa is an executive leader with 30 years experience in the automotive OEM, Tier 1 supplier and aftermarket sectors. Her most recent role was Senior Vice President, Automotive and Transportation with Jabil Inc. (Jabil), one of the world’s leading electronics manufacturing services company. Prior to Jabil, Lisa was Group Vice President and General Manager of Johnson Control’s Power Solutions business, one of the world’s largest automotive battery manufacturers leading the OEM and technology strategies including advanced energy storage and Lithium-Ion technologies. Lisa was also President and CEO of Ride Control LLC (Gabriel) which operates in both the aftermarket and OEM segments and was responsible for leading the company’s accelerated plan for profitable growth. Lisa began her career at Ford Motor Company where she worked for 10 years in a variety of positions.

In 2015, Lisa was recognised by Automotive News as a "Top 100 Leading Women in the Automotive Industry". She holds a Master of Engineering Management degree from Wayne State University, USA and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, USA.

Sara Watts

Non-Executive Director


Sara is a non-executive director and an audit and risk committee chair with over 10 years’ participation across technology, logistics, arts and disability sectors.  In addition, Sara brings more than 30 years of financial, operational, international and technology transformation experience. Sara’s former executive roles include head of Internal Audit for IBM Asia Pacific, Chief Financial Officer of IBM Australia/New Zealand, and Vice-Principal (Operations) at the University of Sydney. 

In 2013, Sara was awarded a Women in Information Technology achievement award for her leadership skills and commitment to advancing women in the Australian ICT Industry. Sara is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and of CPA Australia. She has a BSc (University of Sydney) and an MBA (Macquarie University).

Sara was appointed to the Syrah Board in June 2019 and chairs the Audit and Risk Committee.


John Beevers

Non-Executive Director


John is a Mining Engineer with over 30 years experience in the Mining Resources and Services industries. He has broad international experience with extensive functional, operational and leadership experience at both the General Management and Executive Level, especially in building and marketing innovative technology that creates value for customers. He holds a Masters Degree in Business.

John currently serves on the Board of Orica, and amongst others formerly served on the Boards of QUT Bluebox and BIS Industries.

Former Executive roles include Chief Executive Officer for Orica Mining Services and, MD & CEO for GroundProbe.

John was appointed to the Syrah Board in May 2020, and is a member of both the Remuneration, Nomination and Governance Committee & Audit and Risk Committee.

Executive Management

Julio Costa

Chief Operating Officer


Julio has over 30 years mining, operations and technical experience gained from senior leadership roles for Alcoa Corporation, Rio Tinto Limited and Vale S.A, in Australia, Brazil, Mozambique and North America.

Julio brings significant expertise in mining operation design, commissioning and optimisation. He has a strong track record in community and stakeholder management and developing strong operating teams through people, process and technology.

Julio holds a Bachelor of Chemistry from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.


Stephen Wells

Chief Financial Officer


Stephen joined the company in August 2019. He is an experienced finance executive with almost 25 years of broad financial expertise gained from a range of industries including institutional and investment banking, resources, and international financial services, working in London, Singapore and New York as well as Australia. Stephen was previously Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of nlc Pty Ltd, and was also CFO for a range of businesses within National Australia Bank’s Wholesale Banking division including the global specialised finance business covering infrastructure, clean energy, natural resources, asset financing and utilities.

Stephen holds undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in economics, and an MBA from Melbourne Business School.


Melanie Leydin

Company Secretary


Melanie Leydin is an experienced Company Secretary and Chief Financial Officer having held these positions at a number of small public companies. Ms. Leydin is the Principal of Leydin Freyer Corporate Pty Ltd, a company that specialises in outsourced company secretarial and accounting services to public listed companies in the biotechnology and resources industry