Ari Sussman – Chief Executive Officer
Ari Sussman has over 20 years of experience in both the natural resources and investment markets sectors. Having dedicated the majority of his career to the natural resources industry, Mr. Sussman has been instrumental in sourcing, funding and developing high-quality and high-grade mineral assets. During his career, Mr. Sussman has built a strong network of business contacts throughout Latin America, and in the past decade has raised over $1 billion for various resource companies.
Luis Germán Meneses, MBA – Country Manager
Luis German Meneses is the former Executive Vice-President and COO of Cerrejón, Colombia’s largest private coal producer and exporter and one of the largest integrated mining companies in the world, with mine-railway-port and marketing operations. With over 37 years of senior management experience, he has led operations and business teams in Colombia and North America, including as Vice-President, Operations with Intercor (a subsidiary of ExxonMobil that later merged into what is now the current Cerrejón). Mr. Meneses received his Systems Engineering degree from Industrial University of Santander, Colombia and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.
Donald Gray, M.Sc., MBA – Chief Operating Officer; Q.P.
Don Gray has over 30 years of project development, start-up, and operational experience, including significant experience in underground and narrow-vein precious metals mining with a strong focus on Latin America. Most recently, Mr. Gray was Vice-President, Operations for Tahoe Resources Inc., where he led their operations and business team in Guatemala for the constructing, commissioning and operating of the flagship Escobal mine. Before joining Tahoe, he was Vice President, Mining for Orvana Minerals. Prior to that, Mr. Gray was Senior Vice-President, South American Operations for Coeur d’Alene Mines, where he was responsible for operations in Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. He has also held key positions with Hecla Mining Company, Newmont Mining Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corp., and Climax Molybdenum Co. Mr. Gray holds a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering from the University of Idaho, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Master of Business Administration from Auburn University.
Paul Begin, CA, MBA – Chief Financial Officer
Paul Begin has over 15 years of senior level financial experience. Mr. Begin was formerly the Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary of Hanfeng Evergreen Inc. Additionally, he served as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Trilliant Incorporated (formerly OZZ Corporation). At Trilliant, he led a team that made numerous acquisitions and divestitures. His background also includes various financial roles in the marketing communications, secure transactions and direct marketing industries. Mr. Begin is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Science (Honors) degree in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario and a MBA from the University of Toronto.
David Reading, MSc. Economic Geology. FIMMM – Special Advisor
Mr. Reading has over 38 years’ experience in the mining industry covering all stages of mine development, including exploration, evaluation, feasibility, financing, construction and operations in the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia. His previous positions include CEO of Aureus Mining, CEO of European Goldfields and Head of Exploration for Randgold Resources. In addition, Mr. Reading has held senior exploration and project development positions for Anglo American and Phelps Dodge. His career — focused on three areas: the Archean and Proterozoic of Africa, the Tethyan belt in Europe and Eurasia and the porphyry and epithermal systems of South America (Colombia, Peru and Argentina) — is highlighted by successful gold exploration discovery of multiple orebodies in the Archean and Birimian terrains of Africa for shear hosted deposits. He has an MSc in Economic Geology and is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.
Glynnis Frelih, CPA, CA – SVP Finance and Controller
Glynnis Frelih has over 15 years of experience in the gold mining sector. Prior to joining Continental in 2011, Ms. Frelih was the Controller (2000-2008) and the IFRS Project Lead (2008-2011) at Iamgold Corporation. Her experience includes merger and acquisition (valuation, due diligence and post-acquisition integration), treasury, ERP implementation, IFRS conversion, Sarbanes-Oxley implementation and compliance and transitioning teams from junior exploration companies to intermediate producing companies. Ms. Frelih is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a Certified General Accountant and has a Business Administration, Accounting Diploma from Durham College.
Ana Milena Vásquez, Senior Vice-President, External Affairs and Sustainability
Ms. Vásquez has extensive Colombian experience in mining, infrastructure, community and government relations. Most recently, she was President of Minera Vetas, leading the sustainability program in its areas of influence in Santander, Colombia. Prior to that, she was co-founder and President of CB Gold Inc., where she was responsible for the organization and supervision of Colombia operations, including with respect to socio-environmental and project permitting issues. Previously, Ms. Vásquez was Chief Financial Officer and General Manager of Carbones del Cesar S.A. in Colombia and General Manager of Carbones Nueva Naricual C.A. in Venezuela. She was also a founding partner of Bogota-based D&PE SA, a venture capital investment banking business and a member of the board of directors of the Colombian Mining Association. Ms. Vásquez holds a Master in Financial Analysis from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and a Professional in Finance and International Relations from Universidad Externado de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia.
Jairo Ivan Ariza, MBA, MPS – Vice-President, Protection
Captain Ariza has enjoyed a diverse career in both the public and private sectors. He spent 27 years (1985-2012) in the National Navy of Colombia, culminating with the rank of Captain and being a member of the Joint Naval Staff of the Navy Command. From 2013-2016, Captain Ariza worked for the National Government of Colombia within the Ministry of Defense, where he was involved in creating security-related policies and strategies to combat criminality in Colombia. From 2016 until joining Continental, he was the Director of Risk Control for AngloGold Ashanti, where he was responsible for all security and protection-related matters. Captain Ariza holds Master’s degrees in Business Administration, Political Science and Marketing and Management.
Carlos Franco Echavarria – Vice-President, Sustainability
Mr. Franco spent over six years in the areas of Social Standards and Social Dialogue at Cerrejón, Colombia’s largest private coal producer and exporter. Previously, he was a consultant to various mining and oil companies and co-founded the Mining and Energy Committee on Security and Human Rights of the energy mining sector. He is also former Director of the Presidential Program on Human Rights for the Colombian Government and, from 1991-1996, acted as President and CEO of Fundación Progresar, an organization that managed the reintegration of the EPL (Popular Liberation Army) combatants. As a member of the Peace National Council, he was a representative of the demobilized groups and an EPL delegate to the National Council of Normalization and Reintegration; he was also part of the Commission to Facilitate the process with the Self-Defense Forces (2002-2004). Mr. Franco holds a degree in Political Science from Universidad del Valle and a Major in Conflict Resolution and Negotiation from Universidad Javeriana.
Omar Ossma – Vice-President, Legal
Omar Ossma has over 15 years of legal experience in Colombian corporate, environmental, mining and energy law. As Vice President, Legal, he oversees the Company’s Colombian legal team and is responsible for all legal support efforts in the country. Prior to Continental Gold, he served as Vice-President, Legal of Minas Paz Del Rio, S.A. and Legal Manager of Eco Oro Minerals Corp. Mr. Ossma has held senior positions as a lawyer in a number of mining and energy sector companies, including Empresa de Energìa de Bogotá S.A. ESP and Grupo Endesa (Emgesa S.A. Esp. – Codensa S.A. Esp). He holds a law degree from Universidad Externado de Colombia.
Guillermo Salgado – Vice-President, Environment
Mr. Salgado is a seasoned executive with over 10 years of environmental experience in Colombia, and has been Environmental Manager of the Company since November 2014. He was previously Environmental and Community Manager for Colombian Natural Resources S.A.S. (“CNR”) (a Goldman Sachs company) where he was responsible for overall environmental compliance for the Sociedad Portuaria Rio Cordoba, El Hatillo, La Francia and Cerro Largo mines. Prior to CNR, Mr. Salgado was Sustainability Corporate Manager for C. I. Prodeco S.A. (Glencore International), where he had overall responsibility for environmental and community issues for the Puerto Nuevo Port Society, Carbones de La Jagua, Consorcio Minero Unido, Carbones El Tesoro and Prodeco mines. Over the course of his career, Mr. Salgado has successfully implemented environmental management plans and obtained new and modified environmental licences for various business initiatives. Mr. Salgado holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the Universidad Del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia.
Cheree Scott – Corporate Secretary, Manager of Human Resources
Ms. Scott has been the Company’s Corporate Secretary since 2010 and is also Manager of Human Resources. Prior to that, she spent over 11 years with the Peter Munk group, including as Manager, Corporate Compliance of Trizec Canada Inc. and with TrizecHahn Corporation and The Horsham Corporation. Her 29+-year-career includes corporate governance/compliance or legal administration positions at Ivernia Inc., The Ondaatje Corporation and Davies, Ward & Beck.