Piedmont Lithium Ltd (ASX:PLL) has strengthened its team through the appointment of lithium industry veteran Austin Devaney as vice president - sales and marketing.
Devaney, who has spent most of the past decade in senior marketing roles with major lithium producer Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB), will play a broad strategic role with Piedmont.
In this regard, he will drive relationships with the global automotive, battery and cathode companies that are the prospective customers for the battery-grade lithium hydroxide the company plans to produce in the United States.
Piedmont president and chief executive officer Keith Phillips said: “We are very pleased to welcome Mr Devaney to our senior management team.
“Austin is one of the world’s most experienced lithium marketing professionals, having played a senior role with industry-leader Albemarle for most of the past decade.
“His relationships with important players in the EV supply chain will be instrumental in positioning Piedmont to secure lithium sales agreements with customers of the highest calibre.
“80% of the world’s lithium hydroxide is currently produced in China, and Piedmont aims to play a leadership role in helping the EV sector address this over-reliance.”
Shares are more than 4% higher at 11.5 cents and are up from 6.3 cents at close on March 19.
Devaney is a chemical engineer by training and has spent most of his career in senior commercial roles with Albemarle and Rockwood Lithium.
This technical experience will be directly relevant as Piedmont completes its initial lithium hydroxide test work programs in coming weeks and will have product samples to share with prospective customers for the first time.
Devaney said: “I am excited to join the Piedmont team and help advance this project located in one of the key locations in the world both from a lithium and an automotive perspective.
“The work that the team has done has Piedmont on a low-risk path to convert spodumene to lithium hydroxide in a competitive location."
In his time at Albemarle and Rockwood, Devaney developed broad and deep relationships with many of the most important participants in the global electric vehicle supply chain.
His technical background was particularly useful in navigating the product qualification processes that are required by global automakers.