Leadership Team

Our senior level management team brings decades of experience in the global health care sector, and have come to this industry with a common goal: To improve the treatment options for Canadian patients by advancing the science of cannabis.

Neil J. Closner Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

Neil J. Closner

Mr. Closner is the Co-Founder and CEO of the Company as well as a director. Mr. Closner co-founded the Company and has been a key driver of the Company’s growth and vision. His responsibilities include oversight of all general management for the organization, strategic leadership on growth opportunities and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit throughout the Company.

Mr. Closner brings nearly two decades of start-up, technology and health care experience to the MedReleaf team. Previously, he was a member of the senior leadership team at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital where he served as Vice-President of Business Development. Mr. Closner began his career as a health-care focused investment banker with Salomon Smith Barney (now Citigroup) and has also served as the founder, CEO or on the board of directors for more than half a dozen technology and health-care related start-up companies. Mr. Closner is Chairman of the Board of the Cannabis Canada Association, representing the majority of Licensed Producers. He also sits on the executive committee and on the board of directors of Technion Canada. Mr. Closner studied economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science in London, England, and holds a BA from McGill University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Igor Gimelshtein Chief Financial Officer

Igor Gimelshtein

Mr. Gimelshtein is the CFO of the Company, providing leadership on financial matters, including capital structure, forecasting, budgeting and reporting, as well as corporate development and data-driven business optimization. Previously, he was a Vice-President at Birth Hill Equity Partners, a Canadian mid-market private equity firm. While at Birch Hill, Mr. Gimelshtein worked on the development and management of a number of the portfolio companies and potential investments across a wide range of industries, each of which was aimed at generating significant growth and value-creation.

Mr. Gimelshtein played a key role in Birch Hill’s investments in companies such as Softchoice, Shred-it, DHX Media (formerly Cookie Jar Entertainment), Carmanah Design and Manufacturing, and Mastermind Toys. Prior to joining Birch Hill, Mr. Gimelshtein worked in San Francisco and New York for Union Square Advisors as an investment banker focused on the technology sector. At Union Square he evaluated and executed mergers and acquisitions and financing transactions across the software, internet and digital media, and hardware sectors. Mr. Gimelshtein is an active philanthropist, spending the majority of his volunteer time working with the executive team and board of directors of the Toronto Foundation on various initiatives. Mr. Gimelshtein holds an HBA (Ivey Scholar) from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University.

Eitan Popper President & Co-Founder

Eitan Popper

Mr. Popper is a co-founder and the President of MedReleaf. Mr. Popper brings over 15 years of international partnerships, large-scale project development, and engineering experience to the Company’s senior executive team. Mr. Popper’s responsibilities include oversight of all infrastructure and cultivation. As part of the senior executive team he is also involved in strategic partnerships and growth opportunities. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Popper was a Managing Partner at the MENA Investment Network Inc., a Canadian investment firm developing cross-border industrial projects in the Middle East.

Previously, Mr. Popper was Vice-President of Project Development at the Merhav Group, where he was involved in the development of large-scale oil and gas, power, renewable energy, and infrastructure projects in South and Central America, Africa and the Middle East. While at Merhav, Mr. Popper served as a board member of Eltek, a leading printed circuit board manufacturer traded on NASDAQ.

Mr. Popper holds a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico, an M.Sc. in Environmental Fluid Mechanics from Stanford University, and an MBA from the Recanati School of Business at Tel Aviv University.

Angelo Fefekos Vice-President, Quality Assurance and Control

Angelo Fefekos

Mr. Fefekos is the Vice-President, Quality Assurance and Control of the Company, responsible for the development, implementation and oversight of the Company’s quality assurance and control systems and processes, regulatory compliance, as well as the development and design of new cannabis products. Mr. Fefekos also oversees the design and management of clinical trials, which meet standards of excellence for ethics, scientific merit and regulatory compliance. Mr. Fefekos brings over a decade of healthcare experience in quality assurance, laboratory technology and clinical management skills to the Company.

Prior to joining MedReleaf, Mr. Fefekos managed a team of 40 scientific staff in the Division of Diagnostic Medical Genetics at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. In this role, he was responsible for all aspects of the division’s diagnostic operations. While at Mount Sinai, Mr. Fefekos also managed Allograft Technologies, one of Canada’s largest tissue banks, and was responsible for the redesign and implementation of all protocols related to the recovery, processing, distribution, sterility assurance and post-market surveillance activities of transplanted human tissues . Throughout Mr. Fefeko’s career, he has developed and implemented standardized workflow processes designed to increase patient safety. Mr. Fefekos has extensive knowledge and experience with accreditation and regulatory requirements in the production of health products, medical laboratory testing and health services. Mr. Fefekos is a member of the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario and holds an MBA from Athabasca University.

Darren Karasiuk Vice-President, Strategy

Darren Karasiuk

Mr. Karasiuk is the Vice-President, Strategy of the Company, responsible for business development and preparing the Company for the potential introduction of a recreational cannabis market in Canada, while ensuring that MedReleaf’s business strategy and growth plan is founded in industry-leading analytics and data-driven insights. Mr. Karasiuk brings over 15 years of insight generation, marketing strategy and public affairs experience to his role. Prior to joining MedReleaf, Mr. Karasiuk was Vice-President, Insights and Advisory at Deloitte where he was a leader in the firm’s cannabis practice, co-authoring the firm's seminal study, "Recreational Marijuana: Insights and Opportunities."

Previously, Mr. Karasiuk was Vice-President, Strategy, Corporate and Public Affairs at Environics Research, where he conducted many of Canada’s earliest studies on pharmacist and physician perceptions of medical cannabis. He has also been the Canadian associate for the Marijuana Policy Group, a leading Denver-based economic and policy consulting firm specializing in helping to shape regulated medical and recreational cannabis markets. Mr. Karasiuk’s advisory experience has focused largely on the integration of consumer and marketplace data, financial modeling, marketing strategy and behavioural science, with a view to uncovering drivers of consumer behaviour and uncovering hidden market segments, as well as informing price, brand, product portfolio, communications and public affairs strategies. Mr. Karasiuk is also experienced working within highly regulated industries including private and public healthcare, pharma, tobacco, consumer packaged goods , and energy, as well as all three levels of government. Mr. Karasiuk holds an MA from Western University and an MBA from Kellogg-Schulich.

Ivan Latysh Vice-President, Information Technology

Ivan Latysh

Mr. Latysh is the Vice-President, Information Technology of the Company, and has over 30 years of experience in information technology across multiple verticals and provides leadership for the continued development of an innovative, robust and secure information technology environment at MedReleaf.

Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Latysh held a number of senior positions within the marketing and professional services industries. Most recently, he was Director of Technology at Sapient Nitro, a leading technology, marketing and insights consultancy. At Sapient Nitro, Mr. Latysh acted as a delivery lead for e-commerce implementations for some of North America’s most well-known retail brands.

Previously, Mr. Latysh was Principal Software Engineer at Infor and Chief Technology Officer at Refine Data Solutions Inc. This experience has provided Mr. Latysh with a deep understanding of various technical environments, information security and software development methodologies. Throughout his career, Mr. Latysh has also effectively managed and led software development initiatives. Mr. Latysh holds an MA in Electronics Engineering and Computer Programming from Dnepropetrovsk State University, Ukraine.

Dr. Jeremy N. Friedberg, HBSc, PhD Scientific Advisor

Dr. Jeremy N. Friedberg, HBSc, PhD

Dr. Friedberg has been involved extensively in both public and private scientific research projects, holds several patents in plant-based gene expression systems and has years of research expertise in the genetics of commercial plant production systems.

He has founded several companies and led the development of numerous scientific research initiatives that have garnered international recognition and awards from the Canadian National Scientific Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United Nations.

In his role at MedReleaf Dr. Friedberg provides a scientific framework for our internal research – and oversees the development of new strains for specific conditions as well as manages third party research sponsored by MedReleaf.

He holds an HBSc in Genetics from the University of Western Ontario, and a PhD in Molecular Genetics & Biotechnology from the University of Guelph.

Mike Dacks Director, Legal & Business Affairs

Mike Dacks

Mike is an experienced international commercial lawyer and business development executive having provided trusted and pragmatic legal and strategic advice to rapidly scaling companies around the world. Mike is the former VP and General Counsel of a large Canadian digital media and social networking company operating globally and has served as a director and officer of public and privately held companies. Prior to joining MedReleaf he was co-founder of a litigation analytics start-up venture affiliated with the MaRS LegalX innovation cluster in Toronto.

Licensed to practice law by the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Israel Bar Association, Mike articled in the Intellectual Property and Technology Licensing department of Meitar Liquornik Geva & Leshem Brandwein, Israel’s leading international law firm where he worked with some of Israel’s leading technology companies. Mike is a former international law clerk to the Hon. Justice Asher Grunis of the Israel Supreme Court and also served in the elite IDF paratroopers. He holds a B.A. from Western University and an LL.B./J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School where he received a special degree designation in International, Comparative and Transnational Law.

Jason Fleming, CHRL Director, Human Resources

Jason Fleming, CHRL

Jason is an accomplished bilingual HR executive with a decade of varied HR experience. Prior to joining MedReleaf, Jason was the Director of Human Resources with the Seaboard Transport Group, Canada’s largest transporter of petroleum and chemical products. In addition, Jason has provided HR consulting services to a number of organizations in various sectors, including municipal government, architecture and non-profit. He sits on the board of directors for Aboriginal Legal Services as well as the Canadian Freestyle Skiing Association. Jason possesses a BA from the University of Guelph, a Post-Graduate Certificate in HR Management and a Certificate in HR Law; he is a Certified Human Resources Leader with the Ontario Human Resources Professional Association.

Adam Noyek Director, Business Planning

Adam Noyek

Prior to joining MedReleaf, Adam was an Associate at Alvarez and Marsal, one of North America's largest turnaround management and restructuring firms. In the Toronto office, he provided advice to a broad range of clients through complicated and distressed situations including company management, lending syndicates and secured creditors. Notable assignments during his time at A&M included working with the management team of Blockbuster Canada throughout the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of their U.S. parent and helping oversee the $434 million distressed asset purchase of Arctic Glacier Inc., one of the largest ice manufacturers in Canada. Adam maintains a keen interest in small business entrepreneurship. His most successful venture to date, is one he helped co-found, a premiere recreation facility in Ontario, Spray Lake Watersports and Activity Centre. Adam received his Honours in Business Administration (HBA) from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University.

Christie Hall Director, Finance and Accounting

Christie Hall

Christie brings over 15 years of senior financial, accounting, and reporting leadership for both public and private companies in a variety of industries including, manufacturing, service delivery, real estate, construction, and retail. Prior to joining MedReleaf, Christie was the VP Finance for FirstOnSite Restoration, a national provider of disaster restoration, owned by private equity firm TorQuest (until 2016). At FirstOnSite, Christie championed the centralization of the Finance team generating significant cost savings and business process improvements across the organization while concurrently realigning finance and reporting objectives with the company’s business strategy. Previously, Christie was the Controller for Brookfield Real Estate Services Inc. and Coretec Inc., both TSX® listed companies. As a seasoned Controller, leading teams of up to 17 finance professionals, Christie has focused her career in accounting, budgeting and forecasting, business modelling, treasury management, internal controls, public company reporting, and compliance. Christie has implemented and led various initiatives including major ERP system integrations, process re-engineering, internal control assessment and development, IFRS conversions and supporting various business mergers and acquisitions. Christie is a designated CPA, CGA and possesses a BA from Athabasca University and also received a diploma in Accounting and Finance from Seneca College.

Ori Sher Sr. Director, Security & Infrastructure

Ori Sher

Ori brings over twenty years of start-up, technology and security experience to the MedReleaf team. Most recently, Ori was an IT implementation, redundancy and project management consultant for Amdocs in their Facilities Division, spending most of his time servicing clients in the United States. Previously, Ori was an entrepreneur in the entertainment, software and food industries, all with a focus on technology and innovation. Ori served in the Israeli Defense Forces working primarily with long-range missile technology and retired as a Sergeant First Class. Ori studied radio broadcasting and sound engineering at Ryerson College and subsequently received his diploma from the Harris Institute in Sound Engineering and music management.