Our Leadership Team

Gerhard Veldsman

CEO Operations, Hancock Prospecting

Gerhard Veldsman is Chief Executive Officer, Operations at Hancock Prospecting, with responsibility for the two iron ore producing businesses Roy Hill and Atlas Iron.

Gerhard has extensive mining industry experience spanning various commodities and operations in Australia and South Africa, including more than a decade in iron ore.

He has managed mine, port, and rail operations in the Pilbara, overseen major capital projects, and led organisation wide strategic planning and implementation.

Gerhard initially joined Roy Hill as Chief Operating Officer in August 2019 and was named Chief Operating Officer of the Year in 2020 by CEO Magazine.

He has previously held senior management positions at Fortescue Metals Group, BHP, and BIS Industries.

Chris Els

Company Secretary and Chief Financial Officer

Chris has held the role of Chief Financial Officer at Atlas since 2017, taking on the additional role of Company Secretary in 2018.

Chris is responsible for the financial strategy and direction of the business as well as managing a team of experts across Finance, Commercial and Sales and Marketing. His advanced skills in financial restructuring, investor relations, commercial agreements and negotiations, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance provide invaluable insight and guidance for the leadership team at Atlas.

Chris has a broad appreciation for all that mining offers, including boosting the economy, adopting advances in technology, and being a part of an industry with increasing employment growth.

Chris has global experience in a range of industries including manufacturing, agribusiness and most recently mining. He holds an honours degree in Commerce and is a Chartered Accountant.

Chris is an associate member of the UK-based Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), Chartered Global Management Accountants (CGMA) and a member of the Certified Practising Accountants of Australia (CPA).

Chris Deans

Executive General Manager - Operations and Technical Services

Chris is a Mining Engineer with a wealth of experience across various commodities and operations. Joining Atlas in 2012, he has held both Operational and Technical leadership positions. In his current role, Chris is responsible for Atlas' strategic mine planning, mine engineering, mine geology, hydrogeology, exploration, integrated planning and Port operations.

Chris' experience managing both operational and multidisciplinary technical teams has positioned him to add value to the business through driving systems thinking, supply chain optimisation, technical innovation and a focus on analytical and strategic approaches. Chris is passionate about building diverse, high performing technical teams that can deliver value to the business and meet future challenges.

Helen Walters

General Manager, Human Resources

Helen joined Atlas Iron in January 2020, bringing more than 20 years’ experience across Human Resources, People Change Management and Business Improvement. She is a passionate leader with a dedicated focus on people and culture to achieve business outcomes.

Prior to joining Atlas, Helen has held leadership positions at FMG and Roy Hill where she was accountable for the development and execution of the people change strategy for the Smart Mine Program which included the implementation of the Autonomous Drilling and Haulage solutions. Throughout the program she created opportunities to ensure people were future proofed and able to thrive in an increasingly digital world. The changes to work design and roles resulted in higher engagement and significant increases in productivity.

Mike Waller

General Manager - Technology and Information Management

Mike joined Atlas Iron in September 2022 and has over 25 years' experience in providing strategy and leadership for technology and innovation. In his current role, he is responsible for leading a highly skilled team across technology operations, project delivery, planning and governance. The goal of the team is to minimise technology risks (such as cyber security). maximise the returns on Atlas’ technology and innovation investment, align the technology strategy with the Atlas business plans and ensure that our outcomes always deliver business value.

Mike has had the privilege of being involved with Hancock Prospecting across numerous years, including from the early days of the Roy Hill bankable feasibility study. This includes providing technology innovation leadership and strategy across the Smart Mine Program, with heavy focus on implementing agnostic autonomous mining solutions. Outside of this, Mike has held management positions with the major industry players across multiple game changing initiatives, such as remote operation centres, automation interoperability, private LTE and digital transformations.

He is passionate about leading and creating high performance, diverse, dynamic and empowered teams. As such, Mike believes that technology and innovation should always be about people. Its successful use ensures our people remain safe, looks after their wellbeing, supports increased efficiency and productivity and provides career progression opportunities.

Jenny Woo

General Manager – Sales & Marketing

Jenny joined the Atlas leadership team as Head of Sales in July 2019 with a purview over Sales, Marketing, Bulk Freight, and Joint Ventures functions. Over the last decade, Jenny has been responsible for the Sales and Marketing of Atlas's products, forging strong relationships with customers around the globe. Since joining the business, Jenny has been integral in facilitating the sale of over 97 million metric tonnes of iron ore.

Jenny holds a Bachelor of Marketing from the University of Western Australia. She has over 30 years of Sales and Marketing experience in the Asia Pacific region, both the FMCG and mining industry. Jenny’s success in this field stems from her ability to match the needs and wants of her customer to the capability of her employers. Thinking outside the box and bridging cultural gaps are critical ingredients to her success stories.

Current & future operations

Learn More