Stephen van Helden
Executive in Residence
Production Board
San Francisco, California

Stephen van Helden joined the Board in 2021. Growing up in and working across Africa, he is passionate about sustainably supporting communities across the continent to become self-sufficient in a changing climate and world.
Stephen is an Executive in Residence at The Production Board where he is focused on starting and building new businesses that take a system-level and science-led approach to solving fundamental problems that affect our planet and its inhabitants.
Previously, he was the Head of Agriculture and Emerging Industries at Zymergen, where his teams developed high-performing products and materials using novel approaches to chemistry, and biological production.
Previously, Stephen worked at McKinsey and Company across sectors and geographies, including extensively in the US and Africa. His professional experiences in South Africa, Kenya and Zambia have covered multiple functions across sectors including Agriculture, Mining, Telecoms, Energy and Transportation. Stephen also co-led and developed McKinsey’s analytical approach to understand global water resources in a partnership with the IFC, WEF and others that resulted in the 2030 Water Resources Group.
A native of Cape Town, South Africa, Stephen holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cape Town, and an MBA from Stanford University, and lives with his family in San Francisco.