Board of Directors
Fred Olsson, President and Chief Executive Officer
Fred joined Planet Aid as its General Manager in 1998 and COO in 2010. In 2019 he became the CEO and President when Ester Neltrup retired. Before joining Planet Aid, Fred worked as parof the textile collection and recycling team at Development Aid from People to People in Sweden. Growing up on a farm in the north of the country, Fred developed a love of nature early in life. He is also an avid cyclist and outdoors man.
Mikael Norling, Chairman of the Board
Mikael Norling completed his Ph.D. in Sociology of Education at the University of Copenhagen, focusing his dissertation and research on issues affecting Zimbabwe. He has since taught at and managed schools focused on international understanding and development in Denmark and the United States. He has lived in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa, where he was engaged in development project management and program development. He joined Planet Aid’s board in 1998.
Eva Nielsen, Treasurer
Eva has been serving on Planet Aid’s board since 2003. She is also CEO and President of the Gaia Movement USA, and has more than 20 years in the secondhand clothing business in locations across the globe. Eva is a certified teacher and has traveled in many countries throughout Asia, Africa, and Central America. She has a deep passion for people, communities, and the environment.
Eric Newman, Board Member
Eric Newman started his career working as a teacher for troubled youth in innovative residential school programs in the U.S., Denmark, and England. In the mid-80s, his interest in community development work led to a shift in direction as he became co-founder and co-director of the Institute for International Cooperation and Development in Massachessetts. In 1997-98, he helped Planet Aid get its start in Boston, while completing his masters degree in education from Boston University. For the last 20 years he has lived in his native state of California, teaching and directing educational programs in public schools.
Jytte Martinussen, Board Member
Jytte has been on Planet Aid’s board since 2004. She got her start in international development many years prior by providing vocational training to apartheid refugees in Zimbabwe (when it was known as Rhodesia). She has since served as the headmaster of the Frontline Institute in Denmark and as the executive director of the Institute for International Cooperation and Development in Massachusetts.
Fernando Binhafta, Board Member
Fernando lives in Guinea-Bissau and has more than 27 years of development-related experience in West and Southern Africa and other locations. Prior to joining Planet Aid in 2016, Mr. Binhafa served on the Board of Humana People to People in Spain and has worked in various leadership, technical, and training capacities for other organizations. Fernando first became acquainted with Planet Aid early in his career as part of Planet Aid’s manager-in-training program.
Tom Meehan, Chief Financial Officer
Tom joined Planet Aid in December 2007. He is a Certified Public Accountant, and has 30 years of professional accounting experience for profit and non-profit organizations. In addition to expertise in U.S. accounting, auditing, and Federal and State regulatory requirements, Tom has provided organizational development assistance to hundreds of entrepreneurs. He also finds time to volunteer in assisting local non-profits and community organizations.
Marie Lichtenberg, Director of International Partnerships
Marie Lichtenberg has over 27 years of global development experience. Most of her career has involved working for the Humana People to People Federation. She joined the Planet Aid office in Elkridge in 2011. Marie is responsible for mobilizing cooperative action among local, national, and international organizations, government agencies and business partners.
Kai Nielsen, Executive Director of Operations
With a background in education and international development, Kai joined Planet Aid as an intern in 2004 and was hired as a unit manager in 2006. He became the Midwestern Regional Manager in 2012, and now oversees six operations centers. He is an avid long-distance runner and loves traveling and exploring new cultures and enjoying the arts.
Ron Allen, Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager
Ron Allen joined Planet Aid in 2019 as the Regional Manager for Planet Aid’s Mid-Atlantic Region. Ron brings a wealth of experience in managing complex logistics, warehouse and distribution operations, and his experience in environmental recycling makes him a great addition to the Planet Aid operations team. Committed to serving the community, in Ron’s spare time he mentors and works with disadvantaged youth, coaches youth AAU basketball teams, has been a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity ,and Big Brother/Big Sisters. Ron enjoys music, travel, and spending time with family and friends.