Board of Directors

Mohammad Karaan

Chairman of the Board

Mohammad Karaan is a member for the South African National Planning Commission and is currently the Dean of the Faculty of AgriSciences at the University of Stellenbosch. He is also currently the Vice-rector: Community Interaction and Personnel. His areas of specialisation include agribusiness management, supply chain management, food marketing, informal markets, rural development, small-scale agriculture, urban agriculture, aquaculture, and strategic management.

Prof Karaan was previously the Chairperson of the National Agricultural Marketing Council as well as the President of the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa. He serves on the board of the Landbank, and holds non-executive directorships with several agribusiness firms. He holds a MSc and PhD in Agricultural Economics from Stellenbosch University.

du Plessis

Non-Executive Director

Andre is the founder of the abalone business that has become Aqunion and has been in marine aquaculture for forty years. He started Aquafarm Development (Pty) Ltd in 1994 and retired as Chief Executive of the Group in 2012. Obtained a BSc (Biology) at Stellenbosch University after which he conducted research and development work in marine aquaculture for the next ten years. This was followed by over ten years in the fishing industry where he gained valuable experience in management and processing.

Aquaculture has always been his passion, from starting up mussel and oyster farms to venturing into abalone cultivation. Attention to detail and being very thorough are two extremely important characteristics he believes are required for success in this field. These days he is pursuing his other interests on a small fynbos farm nearby and is still available for advice.

du Plessis

International Commercial Director

Jacques has over 16 years of experience in abalone aquaculture and marketing, as he started his career at the group in 2000.  Typically, he is responsible for overall business strategy and leading the Executive Team.  Highlights of his tenure at the company includes the expansion of the production capacity of Roman Bay Sea Farm from 50 to 215 tonnes per annum, over a period of 8 years.  He has been integral in establishing Aqunion as the new consolidated abalone group.  This is the culmination of his vision and a process that started 4 years ago.

Jacques is passionate about the abalone industry and has contributed to industry forums throughout his career;  most notably having been the Founding Chairman of the Abalone Export Council.  A qualified quantity surveyor, Jacques holds a B.Sc. (QS) degree from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University of Port Elizabeth. In his spare time, he enjoys spending quality time with his wife and two girls, going camping and cycling in the great outdoors.



Chief Executive Officer

Rowan is the Chief Executive Officer of Aqunion and has been with the company since 2008. He initially served as the Research & Development Manager of Aqunion and as Managing Director of Group subsidiary Marifeed before being appointed as CEO in 2017.
Holding a Masters Degree, specialising in aquaculture, from Rhodes University, he has a solid academic base in biological sciences as well as extensive experience in commercial aquaculture operations.


General Manager, Abalone Farming

As the General Manager of our farming operations, Louise is responsible for maximising the abalone division’s profitability by finding innovative ways to minimise costs and optimise productivity without compromising on product quality. Louise holds a B.Sc (Hons) degree in Zoology from the University of Johannesburg (the former Rand Afrikaans University).

During a typical day, Louise works closely with all divisions to identify areas of challenges and to find collective solutions. She constantly scrutinises financial and production information to determine company performance with an eye on improvement with respect to sustainability, productivity, profitability and animal health.

Executive Team


General Manager, Processing

Eugene is responsible for the day-to-day management and leadership of our processing facility in order to guarantee high product standards. He is continuously striving for improvement by innovating and advancing the business in the areas of product quality, service delivery, efficiency, product development, systems and processes.

Holding B.Sc. (Agric) Food Science and Technology and B.Sc. (Hons) Management of Technology degrees from the University of Pretoria, Eugene is known for his can-do attitude, especially when it comes to innovation. In his spare time, he loves to spend time with his wife and two boys, camping, gardening and taking road trips off the beaten track.


Sales Manager

Willem is responsible for Aqunion marketing, specifically introducing new markets to our products. He is the main point of contact for our existing customer base and manages all sales, customer relations and the rollout of new marketing programmes. He spends his days carefully managing our supply chain, closely collaborating with our farms to ensure that our supply closely matches the market requirements. Willem holds a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture majoring in Aquaculture and a Masters in Business Administration from Stellenbosch University.