Board of Directors

Our Board

Piedmont Lithium owes much of its leadership, direction, and conviction to its Board of Directors. Encompassing the mission and vision of Piedmont Lithium, our Board is a highly experienced group of professionals that are all committed to advancing our work, maximizing our impact, and incorporating many points of view.

Headshot of board member Mr. Jeff Armstrong.

Mr. Jeff Armstrong

Chairman of the Board

Mr. Armstrong has served as Chairman of our Board since May 2021. He also served as Chairman of the board of our predecessor company prior to the Redomiciliation. He served as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of North Inlet Advisors, a FINRA-regulated entity, from 2009 until 2022. North Inlet provides investment banking services to middle market companies in the industrial, consumer, business services and agriculture space. Mr. Armstrong has served on the Boards of private companies in the chemical, solar, healthcare device and direct to consumer sectors. Prior to 2009, Mr. Armstrong served as Head of Mergers and Acquisitions, Private Equity Coverage and Leveraged Capital at what is now Wells Fargo’s Investment Bank. Mr. Armstrong also worked as an investment banker in the late 1980’s and 1990’s for Citigroup and for Morgan Stanley. Mr. Armstrong resides in Charlotte, NC and is actively engaged in the community. He received an M.B.A. from the Darden School of Business, a B.S. from the McIntire School of Commerce and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

President & Chief Executive Officer Keith D. Phillips.

Mr. Keith D. Phillips

President & Chief Executive Officer

Appointed on July 6, 2017, Mr. Keith Phillips joined Piedmont Lithium with a career spanning 30 years on Wall Street, where he managed strategic and financing transactions representing over $100 billion in aggregate value. Prior to Piedmont Lithium, Mr. Phillips most recently served as a Senior Advisor with merchant banker Maxit Capital, after leading the mining investment banking teams for Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, J.P. Morgan, and Dahlman Rose. Mr. Phillips has worked with numerous mining companies, including many established global leaders, and has dedicated most of the past decade to advising exploration and development-stage companies in achieving their strategic objectives, with a particular focus on obtaining relevance in the United States capital markets. Mr. Phillips earned his Master of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Commerce from Laurentian University in Canada.

Headshot of board member Ms. Christina Alvord

Ms. Christina Alvord


Ms. Alvord joined our Board in January 2023. Most recently, Ms. Alvord served as the President of the Central Division of Vulcan Materials Company, the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates. She previously served as Vulcan’s President of the Southern & Gulf Coast Division and Vice President of Corporate Planning and Performance Improvement. Before joining Vulcan, Ms. Alvord held various executive management positions at GE Aviation, including serving as President of GE Aviation-Unison Industries and GE Aviation-Middle River Aircraft Systems. In addition to serving as a board member for Piedmont, Ms. Alvord also serves on the boards of Apogee Enterprises and Albany International. She began her career as a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Co. after graduating from Harvard Business School.

Headshot of board member Mr. Jorge M, Beristain.

Mr. Jorge M. Beristain, CFA.


Mr. Beristain has served as a member of our Board since May 2021 and as a member of the Board of our predecessor company prior to the Redomiciliation. Mr. Beristain was appointed the Vice President of Finance for Ryerson Holding Corporation (NYSE: RYI) in 2022. With revenue of $6bn, RYI is North America’s second largest service center with approximately 100 global locations, supplying carbon and stainless steel, aluminum, red metals and semi-fabricated products to the machinery, transport, consumer durables, food processing, construction and energy sectors. He previously served as the Chief Financial Officer of Central Steel & Wire Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Ryerson, since July 2019 where he was integral to the financial transformation of that subsidiary. From June 2000 to November 2017, Mr. Beristain served as Managing Director and Head of Deutsche Bank AG’s Americas Metals & Mining equity research, where he was consistently ranked by institutional investors as one of the top analysts in the U.S. During his over 20-year career on Wall Street, Mr. Beristain has lived and worked in the U.S., Latin America and Canada and has visited hundreds of industrial companies worldwide. Mr. Beristain received a B. Comm. from the University of Alberta and holds a C.F.A. designation.

Headshot of board member Mr. Michael Bless

Mr. Michael Bless


Mr. Bless joined our Board in January 2023. For nearly a decade, Mr. Bless served as President and CEO of Century Aluminum Company (“Century”), a U.S.-based, publicly-held, global producer of primary aluminum, and was a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Prior to becoming CEO, Mr. Bless served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Century for five years. Previous to Century, he held a range of executive positions with several companies including Maxtor Corporation and Rockwell Automation, Inc. In addition to serving as a board member for Piedmont, Mr. Bless also is a board member of CNA Financial Corporation and Enact Holdings. Mr. Bless is a graduate of Princeton University.

Headshot of board member Mr. Claude Demby.

Mr. Claude Demby


Mr. Demby has served as a member of our Board since June 2021.  He has served as President of Cree LED, a Smart Global Holdings, Inc. company (Nasdaq: SGH), since 2021.  Prior to SGH acquiring Cree LED from WolfSpeed (Nasdaq: WOLF) Mr. Demby held various positions including SVP and GM of the Cree LED business and SVP of Corporate Development.  Mr. Demby served as Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Noël Group, LLC, a global manufacturer of synthetic foam materials, from 2008 to 2014 prior to joining Wolfspeed and  after serving on the Noël Group Board starting in 2001.  From 2001 to 2008 Mr. Demby was President and Chief Operating Officer of L&L Products Inc., a global manufacturer of NVH and structural devices for the automotive and aerospace sectors.  Mr. Demby began his career in engineering roles with Procter & Gamble Company and GE Plastics focused on the chemical processing and manufacture of consumer and industrial products.  He has served as Chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee on the board of Brown Capital Management Mutual Fund Trust, a mutual fund, since 2016 and on the board of Eos Energy Enterprises, an energy storage company, since 2021.  He previously served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond – Charlotte branch from 2012 to 2017, including time as Chairman.  Mr. Demby has a strong record of community service through his founding and running of Valour Academy Schools, Inc., in Raleigh, North Carolina, and serving as an advisory board member of Duke Raleigh Hospital.  Mr. Demby received an M.B.A. from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware.

Ms. Dawne Hickton


Ms. Hickton has served as a member of our Board since March 2024. She currently serves as the Chair and CEO of Cumberland Additive, Inc., a metal additive manufacturer of solutions for the aerospace, defense, energy, and space markets. Ms. Hickton also serves as a member of the National Space Council User’s Advisory Group, which is chaired by the Vice President of the United States to enable and propel America’s space objectives. Prior to her current role, Ms. Hickton was the Executive Vice President of Jacobs (NYSE: J) and President of its Critical Mission Solutions business line, which provides engineering design and support services for NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and other national security priorities. She also held the position of Vice Chair, President, and CEO of RTI International Metals, Inc. (NYSE: RTI), a billion-dollar, vertically integrated global supplier of titanium mill products and fabricated metal components. Ms. Hickton is a Trustee for the University of Pittsburgh and an emeritus member of the Board of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. She is a graduate of the University of Rochester and earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.