Management Team

Avtar Dhillon, MD
Executive Chairman and President
Dr. Dhillon is a life sciences entrepreneur with more than 35 years of experience. As a founder/co-founder or lead investor in dozens of life science companies, he has raised more than $1B in public and private financings. He is currently the Chairman, CEO and President of Emerald Health Sciences, a holding company with a portfolio broadly focused on the development of pharmaceutical, botanical, and nutraceutical products, including a controlling position in Emerald Health Therapeutics. As President and CEO of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Dr. Dhillon led a turnaround with multiple successful financings and licensing deals with Merck, Wyeth (now Pfizer) and Roche. Before joining Inovio, he was Vice President of MDS Capital Corp. (now Lumira Capital Corp.). Dr. Dhillon now serves as an active board member and chairman for multiple life science and investment companies and is Chairman of the Cannabis Canada Council. Prior to his business career, Dr. Dhillon practiced family medicine. He has a BSc (Honours) in Human Physiology and an MD from the University of British Columbia.
Riaz Bandali
Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Bandali’s expertise in global operations, strategy development, driving innovation, M&A, and investment management has been developed over a 25-year career in the life sciences sector spanning contract clinical and research services, analytical instrumentation, lab services and venture capital.

He holds an Advanced Management Program Degree from Harvard Business School, a Master of Business Administration from McGill University, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia. He is an innovative business leader who has built strategic and operating plans that have resulted in rapid growth and significant profitability enhancement. He has managed businesses and operations with a global footprint and has led teams of over 900 people.

Mr. Bandali previous experience includes serving as President, Early Phase Clinical Services and Translational Science, Syneos Health; President, Early Stage Development, as well as Chief Innovation Officer, inVentiv Health Clinical; Senior Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, AB Sciex and Molecular Devices (part of Danaher Corporation); Senior Vice President, Strategy, Legal and Corporate Development, MDS Analytical Technologies; and, Vice President and General Manager, Global Early Stage Development, MDS Pharma Services. He was also Venture Partner and Vice President at MDS Capital and has served on the boards of private and public companies.

Robert C. Hill, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Hill has more than 20 years of accounting, finance and senior leadership experience. He is a seasoned manager of private and publicly traded technology and financial services businesses in Canada, USA, and Asia. Prior to joining Emerald, Mr. Hill was the Chief Financial Officer of Tokyo-based Minkabu, a technology company advancing sophisticated stock market intelligence and financial data solutions. Before that, he held financial leadership positions at Haywood Securities in Vancouver, Vignette Corp. and Trilogy Software in Austin, TX. Mr. Hill earned a BSc from the University of British Columbia and his certification from the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia, Canada while articling with KPMG LLP.
Sean Rathbone, MBA, BMech
Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Rathbone is an industrial engineer with vast experience and success in driving large-scale operational mandates with consumer-focused Fortune 500 companies. Prior to joining Emerald, Mr. Rathbone served as Vice President, Manufacturing, Western Canada at Agropur, Manager, Manufacturing R&D at BDO Canada LLP, Operations Area Manager at Amazon Canada Fulfillment Service, Ltd. and Director, World Class Manufacturing at Molson Coors. His career started at Unilever in South Africa. Mr Rathbone holds a Master of Business Administration from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, and a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering Technology from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Thierry Schmidt, B.A.
Chief Commercial Officer and President, Verdélite
Mr. Schmidt has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, brand advocacy, and general management in the consumer goods industry. Most recently, Mr. Schmidt served as Chief Operating Officer of Botanical Technologies Inc., a cannabis ancillary products supplier, developing marketing plans and managing investor relations and product development. As General Manager at L’Oréal and Chief Marketing Officer at Next Level Energy Inc., he managed product development focused on advancing a sustainable and profitable business model. Furthermore, in his Business Development and Sales Director roles at British American Tobacco, he successfully developed and launched a national trade marketing strategy. Thierry holds a bachelor’s degree from HEC University and is an IMD School of Business Alumni.
Allan Rewak
Vice President, Communications and Stakeholder

Prior to assuming his role at Emerald, Allan was the inaugural Executive Director of the Cannabis Council of Canada, the National Trade Association for Health Canada approved Licenced Producers and Processors under Bill C-45. In this position, Allan played a key role in unifying multiple industry associations to create one singular national voice for the sector and then guided the industry successfully as Canada became the first G8 country to legalize adult-use cannabis.

As a result of this work, he was named as one of the ’20 power players setting down roots in the cannabis industry’ by the financial post.

Prior to entering the legal cannabis industry, Allan was a partner in a Toronto and Edmonton based government relation firm where he assisted clients to secure countless policy wins and over 300 million in direct provincial investments.

Michael Bierman
Vice President, Operations
Mr. Bierman has more than 25 years of experience in manufacturing management, product development, and marketing; from commodity products to fast moving consumer goods. Prior to joining Emerald, Mr. Bierman was the divisional controller for Tolko Industries and then served as the general manager of Lighthouse Brewing Company. Mr. Bierman earned a diploma in accounting and is a certified management accountant.
Rebecca Wong
Vice President, Quality and Regulatory Affairs
Ms. Wong has more than 25 years of managerial experience in quality assurance and quality control spanning preclinical, clinical, and commercial phases for pharmaceuticals, genetically engineered products and medical devices. Before joining Emerald, she was the Executive Director of Quality Assurance at Novelion Therapeutics (formerly QLT Inc.), where she led the strategy for quality assurance, equipment validation, compliance auditing, document management, and GxP training. Ms. Wong previously worked for life science companies including MDS Nordion, Cangene Corporation, and Biomira Inc. Specializing in microbiology, she earned a BSc from the University of Alberta.
Traviss Graham
Vice President, Production
Mr. Graham is the Master Grower for Emerald Health Botanicals, responsible for the medical cannabis growing facility in Victoria, BC and all of the company’s plant production. He has been producing medical cannabis since the inception of the MMAR (Marihuana Medical Access Regulations) program in 2001. His experience encompasses all aspects of production, including large and small plant types, soil and hydroponic environments, and indoor and outdoor greenhouse enclosures. Mr. Graham has for several years been a professional consultant in cannabis production and grow room design.