About The MTO Group

MTO’s Evergreen Values:



Behave with integrity.

Stronger Together

Get the job done.


See the bigger picture.


Challenge common practice / convention.


Create solutions.


Be energetic, have fun.


Act with respect and humility.

Meet The CEO

Lawrence Brian Polkinghorne

Lawrence Brian Polkinghorne


Lawrence grew up on a sugarcane farm in KwaZulu-Natal.

His passion for agriculture led him to pursue a career in this sector. After completing a business management diploma at Natal Technikon, Lawrence went on to study International Agri-Business at the Royal Agriculture College in the UK. In 2010, he completed a degree in Business Administration at the Durban University of Technology.

He enjoyed a long and successful career with Crookes Brothers Ltd., a listed South African agricultural group where he was involved in operations, business development and executive management during his tenure.

In November 2014 Lawrence joined MTO forestry (Pty) Ltd as the Group CEO. His responsibilities include managing a number of the Global Environment Fund (GEF) forestry portfolio companies. GEF is a global alternative asset manager with approximately $1 billion in assets under management, dedicated to the energy, environmental and natural resources sectors.

Lawrence has extensive knowledge in the agricultural industry, particularly on the African continent. His experience includes executing and implementing a number of acquisitions and greenfield operations in a wide range of agricultural projects throughout his career.

Meet The Chairman

Lulamile Xate

Lulamile Xate


Lulamile has a wide range of business experience. He completed his articles at PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1995 and, together with his partners, developed a number of successful businesses in the fishing, gas, forestry and ICT sectors.

He is the director and chairman of a number of unlisted companies. Lulamile Xate holds a BCom degree (UNISA) and Post Graduate Diploma: Energy Studies (Murdoch University).

We Live Our Culture