Mark Plamondon

President of the Ambatovy Project

Nobody’s perfect. What quality or ability do you wish you had?

There are many. However, there are strengths and weaknesses for everyone, no matter how experienced or successful. For this reason alone, a collaborative approach among a team of people to tackle various managerial issues is very effective. Each person on a team brings a unique skill set and perspective that complements the other team members, leading to a collective result that is superior to what can be accomplished individually.

What is the best business book you have ever read, and why?

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap – And Others Don’t by James Collins, which provides some good insight into some of the common practices of great companies. Also, The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu Goldratt, which is told in fictional format but creatively illustrates debottlenecking to maximizing plant throughput and profitability.  

Someone you would most like to have met, living or dead, and why?

Jimi Hendrix, who revolutionized electric guitar playing in just a few years, and to this day is still considered one of the best guitar players of all time.

What do you consider to be your major achievement (in life or business)?

I don’t have one specific achievement that stands out above all others. I have had the good fortune of working with some outstanding people throughout my career, and when a team of people is motivated and given the appropriate resources to succeed, great things can happen.

Who or what do you think is overrated?

Communication by email. This is often relied upon by employees, and although in many cases it is more efficient to communicate by email for large audiences, for sensitive or controversial discussions, it is much better to have a conversation face to face.

What mistakes have you made (professional or otherwise), and what did you learn from them?

There have been many mistakes, but this is how you grow and develop, and eventually move forward. The biggest mistake is indecisiveness, as this prevents you from learning in order to improve yourself and your business.

Which one piece of wisdom would you pass on to your successor?

Your reputation is one of your most important assets, that takes a long time to build but can be destroyed in a moment. Always strive to keep your reputation intact, by maintaining your ethics, principles and standards in all circumstances. At times this may be very difficult, but in the long run, it will serve you well.

Who has been your inspiration professionally?

I have been inspired and encouraged by numerous leaders within Sherritt over the years, who have exemplified work ethic, creativity, and tenacity to achieve success for our company.

How would you like to be remembered after your retirement?

Retirement is a long way off… hopefully I will be viewed as a leader with integrity and principle, who collaborated effectively with partners, colleagues and senior management teams to achieve long-term success for our company.

Do you have a quote or motto you live (or work) by?

Wherever possible, use the “KISS” Principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Mark Plamondon has been president of Ambatovy since March 2012. Before coming to Madagascar he was in charge of Sherritt Coal, the largest coal producer in Canada.