Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan Chairman, The Electrum Group and Panthera
Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist and environmentalist. In his professional life, Dr. Kaplan created and acquired a number of successful companies in natural resources, including Apex Silver Mines (now owned by Sumitomo), African Platinum (purchased by Impala Platinum), and Leor Energy (acquired by EnCana in 2007). He is Chairman of the Electrum Group of companies which, in partnership with institutional investors, is a leading global investor focused on precious metals.
Making his living through a fruitful career in mining and energy, Dr. Kaplan was able to return to his youthful passion for wildlife conservation, focusing on the big cats as the “umbrella species” enabling landscape wide protection of critical ecosystems and the local communities that live within or beside them. Those ambitions informed and inspired Panthera, a charity that he and his wife, Daphne Recanati Kaplan, co-founded in 2006. With over 80 partnerships in 45 countries, Panthera is now recognized as the leading force in cat conservation. On June 1, 2014, environmental philanthropists from China, India, the United Arab Emirates and the United States formed an unprecedented coalition with Panthera and provided the first $80 Million in pledges as cornerstone funding for Panthera’s new $200 Million Global Alliance for Wild Cats. The initial partners are His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi; Mr. Jho Low, Director of Jynwel Charitable Foundation Limited of Hong Kong; Mr. Hemendra Kothari, Chairman of DSP Blackrock India and the Wildlife Conservation Trust; and the Kaplan family, Panthera’s founders.
Further to their commitment to ensuring the long-term survival of the big cats, Dr. Kaplan and his wife established a globally recognized felid conservation program at Oxford University in collaboration with Dr. David MacDonald. In 2009, the couple endowed the Recanati-Kaplan Center at Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, the WildCRU, and the university’s Postgraduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice, which offers young conservationists from developing countries access to cutting edge training at Oxford. In recognition for its innovation in wildlife and environmental conservation, Oxford’s WildCRU was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education.
Dr. Kaplan is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as the International Council at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where he and Graham Allison created the Recanati-Kaplan Intelligence Fellows program. He holds Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees in history from Oxford University.