John Sestan, Finance Expert in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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John Sestan

Verified Expert  in Finance

Finance Expert

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Toptal Member Since
June 12, 2023

John has 30 years of experience leading commercial and financing transactions. His capabilities include M&A business structuring, financing businesses to implement strategies, and balancing intense curiosity for unique solution pathways with robust analytics while involving stakeholders. John successfully transformed warehouse management at the Lubambe Copper Mine, leading the team to halve spare equipment value and reduce SKUs by 60%.

Career Highlights

Founder and CEO
Salamander Business Services

Education Highlights

Master's Degree
Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires (INSEAD)

Case Studies

Work Experience

Founder and CEO

2007 - PRESENT
Salamander Business Services
  • Established a network of high-quality businesses that trust and rely on me to supplement their internal expertise and capacity to complete transformational transactions successfully.
  • Worked for clients, including Rio Tinto, BP Australia, Aus Terminals, Lubambe Copper Mine, Cabral Gold, and Areva.
  • Managed a US $2.5 billion merger of Rio Tinto's uranium mine in Namibia with the neighboring high-grade resource.
  • Led the BP Australian logistic business merger with a competitor with a combined business value of US $100 million. Arranged loan facility of US $80 million to fund the combined business. Created and implemented an integration plan.
  • Right-sized operational inventories for remote mining operations to improve the availability of operational stores and supplies while reducing working capital.
  • Transformed Cabral Gold Inc. by condensing a range of disparate growth opportunities into a concise and simple plan that aligned with the company's funding capacity and resulted in short-term profitability and long-term growth potential.
Focus areas: Business Planning, Capital Raising, Business Management, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Supply Chain Optimization, Due Diligence, M&A Strategy, Due Diligence Consultant

Chief Development Officer and Company Director

2014 - 2018
Elevate Uranium Ltd
  • Developed a business strategy based on new patented technology. Managed four annual capital-raising processes for the company to secure funding for future strategy execution while minimizing shareholder dilution.
  • Renegotiated onerous terms within legacy convertible notes, removing a significant impediment to raising new equity. A strong negotiation resulted in favorable terms for the removal of this debt.
  • Led the negotiation of the first commercialization agreement for the new mineral processing technology used for calcrete-hosted uranium deposits.
  • Contributed to the company's transformation during a three-year term on the company's board. Was tasked with leading strategy and finance.
Focus areas: Fundraising Strategy, Seed Fundraising, Commercialization, Patents, Debt Restructuring, Boards, Corporate Governance

Managing Director

2000 - 2007
Unisoft Pty Ltd
  • Acquired an undervalued software/IT business. Transformed the business into a growth platform, divesting low-value units and investing in the payroll bureau, which contained a clear competitive advantage and scale.
  • Acquired bolt-on acquisitions to grow the core business. Negotiated the acquisition of four additional businesses and competitors to grow the business to a significant market share in the Australian market. Achieved threefold growth in five years.
  • Managed day-to-day business challenges and led the company's operation, finance, and product development functions.
  • Sold the entire business to a major offshore US payroll services company. Took advantage of the higher asset valuation multiples that apply to larger, meaningful assets in the international market.
Focus areas: Business Management, Leadership, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Culture, Due Diligence Consultant

Business Development Manager

1988 - 2000
Rio Tinto
  • Started my career working as a mechanical engineer with a variety of roles, including project controls, estimating, and on-site construction management.
  • Contributed to various investment proposals and project financings as a business analysis. Managed financial matters, including financial modeling, due diligence, and creating viable deal term sheets.
  • Acted as the business development manager in charge of identifying investment opportunities in the energy division.
  • Managed due diligence teams, leading negotiations with sellers to acquire the asset and seeking internal approval for the investment case.
Focus areas: Project Finance, Due Diligence, Term Sheet Negotiations, Negotiation, Financial Modeling, Culture, Due Diligence Consultant, Coal
1994 - 1994

Master's Degree in Business Administration (MBA)

Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires (INSEAD) - Fontainebleau, France

1984 - 1987

Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering

Monash University - Melbourne, Australia


Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Due Diligence, Capital Raising, Financial Modeling, Seed Fundraising, Debt Restructuring, Project Finance

Industry Expertise

Mining, Coal


Financing, Supply Chain Optimization, Due Diligence Consultant, Negotiation, Metals & Mining, Investing, Business Management, Business Planning, Microsoft Office, Operational Modeling, Operational Efficiency Improvement, Leadership, Culture, M&A Strategy, Communication, Analysis, Remote Work, Agile Transformation, Commerce, Merger Benefits, Stakeholder Engagement, Creative Strategy, Fundraising Strategy, Commercialization, Patents, Boards, Corporate Governance, Term Sheet Negotiations

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