Our People

The Continental Gold team is a dynamic mix of industry representatives with strong capital markets experience, technical acumen and government relations experience. Our work culture is based on a collaborative work environment that provides employees with opportunities for professional development and personal growth. Our team aims to become the leading gold producer in Colombia while adhering to the highest standards in health, safety, environmental and community relations.

Interested in joining our team? Please visit the Work With Us section of our website.

Leon Teicher, Chairman3,4
Mr. Teicher was formerly President and Chief Executive Officer of Cerrejón Coal Ltd., 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. Throughout his career, Mr. Teicher has held leadership roles in both the mining and high-tech industries, including as Vice-President, Marketing and Sales, and later member of the board, of Carbocol S.A. (a state-owned Colombian coal company), and general manager of various regional and country operations for Unisys Corporation (a global information technology company). He founded and was Chief Executive Officer of Xeon Technology Corp., a software business development company. Currently a member of the Board of Governors of Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Mr. Teicher is also a member of the boards of directors of Fedesarrollo, Colombia’s leading economic think-tank, Cementos Argos (Medellín, Colombia), the fourth largest cement producer in Latin America and fourth largest in the United States and Foundation Ideas for Peace, a non-partisan foundation of the private sector in Colombia. Mr. Teicher holds an MBA from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Economics from Universidad de los Andes. Among other distinctions, he has been a Fulbright Scholar (1976-1978) and has received various recognition awards from the Colombian government.


Dr. Kenneth Thomas, P.Eng; Lead Director2,3,5
Dr. Thomas was Senior Vice-President, Projects at Kinross Gold Corporation. Prior to Kinross, Dr. Thomas was Global Managing Director and a director at Hatch, a multinational engineering company that provides process design, business strategies, technologies, and project and construction management to the metals, infrastructure and energy market sectors. From 2003 to 2005, he was Chief Operating Officer at Crystallex International and, earlier in his career, spent 14 years at Barrick Gold Corporation, including as Senior Vice-President, Technical Services. Dr. Thomas earned his Ph.D. from Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, with a focus on technical services and project execution. He is a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario and is the President and a Fellow of The Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy & Petroleum (CIM). In 2001, the Institute awarded Dr. Thomas the Selwyn G. Blaylock Medal for advancement in international mine design. Dr. Thomas also sits on the board of directors of Candente Gold Corporation, Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. and Cardinal Resources Limited.


Ari Sussman, Chief Executive Officer3,4
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 $800 million for various resource companies.


Martín Carrizosa4
Mr. Carrizosa is a founding partner at Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría, one of the largest law firms in Colombia, where he focuses on competition and antitrust law, cross-border transactions and international investments. Mr. Carrizosa has also been appointed by the Government of Colombia as a member of the Pacific Alliance Business Council (CEAP) and as one of four Colombian arbitrators qualified to represent the country before the World Bank’s Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). He is a director of Scotiabank Colpatria, LarraínVial Colombia, as well as non-profit organizations such as ProColombia, the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá, and Universidad de los Andes. Previously, Mr. Carrizosa was an Economic and International Affairs Advisor to the President of Colombia and Chief of Staff of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, D.C. He has also been the Chairman, legal advisor and a board member of AMCHAM Colombia (American Chamber of Commerce) and has served on the board of directors of the World Law Group.


James (Jim) Gallagher, P.Eng3,5
Mr. Gallagher is President and Chief Executive Officer of North American Palladium Limited (“NAP”). He is a seasoned mining executive with over 30 years of progressive leadership experience in a series of roles spanning operations, projects, engineering, technology and consulting, including 24 years at Falconbridge Limited in a variety of operational and project management roles. Prior to joining NAP, Mr. Gallagher served as Global Director of Mining at Hatch Ltd., leading one of the largest mining EPCM teams in North America. Over his career, he has benchmarked mining and tunnelling operations on a global basis and has expertise in rapid development methodologies, mining methods, deep mining and the practical application of technology. Mr. Gallagher, a Professional Mining Engineer, holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Canada.


Stephen Gottesfeld, Newmont Nominee1
Mr. Gottesfeld is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Newmont Mining Corporation. Between 2010 and 2013, Mr. Gottesfeld served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary and Vice President and General Counsel of Newmont, and Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs from 2006 to 2010. He served as Newmont’s Associate General Counsel from 2004 to 2006, responsible for Newmont’s Latin American, African and Central Asian legal offices. From 2002 to 2004, Mr. Gottesfeld was Newmont’s Associate General Counsel and General Manager of Newmont Peru S.R.L., spending three years of his career with Newmont working in Lima, Peru. Prior to joining Newmont in 1997 as Senior Counsel, Mr. Gottesfeld was an Associate at Holland & Hart LLP. He earned a law degree and a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the University of Denver in 1993 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from The Colorado College in 1989.


Dr. Claudia Jiménez, PhD2,4
Dr. Jiménez is a Colombia-based lawyer with extensive experience in economics and mining in Colombia and internationally. She is currently CEO of Jiménez & Asociados S.A.S., a private company based in Medellín, Colombia specializing in fiscal, financial and economic advisory services. Formerly, Dr. Jiménez was the Executive Director of the Association for the Large-Scale Mining Sector (now the Mining Colombian Association). Dr. Jiménez’s experience also includes serving as the Minister-Counselor of the President of Colombia between 2009 and 2010, the Director of the Colombian Presidential Program for the Reform of the Public Administration at the National Planning Department between 2002 and 2005, and the Ambassador of Colombia in Switzerland and Liechtenstein between 2006 and 2009. Dr. Jiménez graduated with a degree in Law and Political Science from the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellín, Colombia, and later pursued a Doctorate of Law at the Université of Paris II (Panthéon-Assas) in France. Dr. Jimenez is a member of the board of directors of Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM).


Paul J. Murphy, B. Comm, CA1,2
Mr. Murphy has over 40 years of financial experience and has worked almost exclusively in the resource industries for the past 30 years. He gained significant industry experience as a Partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (1981-2010) and was the National Mining Leader in Canada. He has been a leader in industry-specific areas of financial reporting and controls, governance, operational effectiveness, SEC reporting issues, financing, valuation and taxation. He has worked with an extensive number of foreign companies seeking listings in Toronto to raise financing for foreign operations. Mr. Murphy joined Guyana Goldfields Inc. as its Executive Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer, and also serves as Chief Financial Officer of GPM Metals Inc. He is also Chairman of Alamos Gold, Inc.


Christopher Sattler, MBA1,2,5
Mr. Sattler, an experienced mining executive based in Toronto, is the former Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Uranium One Inc., one of the world’s largest uranium producers, and was directly responsible for leading the sale of Uranium One to ARMZ Uranium Holding Inc. in 2013 for US$1.3 billion. Joining Uranium One in 2006, he held a number of positions of increasing responsibility, including Executive Vice-President, Corporate Development and Investor Relations. Mr. Sattler began his career as a member of the Mining, Investment and Corporate Banking Group at BMO Nesbitt Burns in Toronto, where for five years he provided corporate finance and M&A advisory services to clients in the mining sector in Canada and internationally. He holds a B.Sc. in Mining Engineering from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and an MBA from London Business School.


1Member of the Audit Committee

2Member of the Corporate Governance, Nominating and Human Resources Committee

3Member of the Health, Safety and Environment Committee

4Member of the Community and Government Relations Committee

5Member of the Technical Committee

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 $800 million 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 – Special Advisor
Mr. Reading has over 35 years’ experience in the mining industry covering all stages of mine development, including exploration, feasibility, financing, construction and operations. His previous positions include CEO of Aureus Mining, CEO of European Goldfields and General Manager of African 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.


Isabel Martinez Acosta, MBA – Vice-President, Administration
Ms. Martinez has been with the Company since its formation in 2007. She was previously Vice-President, Finance and Administration and currently oversees the Company’s general administrative operations, including facilities management, transportation, information technology, insurance and land purchasing and management. During her 11-year tenure with the Company, she has also held leadership roles in human resources, supply chain and logistics, audit and risks. Ms. Martinez holds an accounting degree with a post-graduate degree in Economics and International Business and a Master of Business Administration degree from Universidad de Medellín.


Mauricio Castañeda – Vice-President, Exploration; Q.P.
Mauricio Castañeda has more than 15 years of mineral exploration and production-stage experience. He joined the Company in April 2009, initially as the Company’s Exploration Manager. Prior to Continental Gold, Mr. Castañeda held senior positions as a geologist in a number of exploration and mining companies in Colombia, including Anglo American Colombia Exploration, ColGold Inc. Colombia, Consorcio de Inversionistas S.A. and Mineros Nacionales S.A.


Amanda Durán Casas, CPA – Vice-President, Finance
Ms. Durán, a certified public accountant, has over 20 years of senior-level financial experience. Previously, Finance Manager of the Company, she was also Finance Manager of Cerrejón, Colombia’s largest private coal producer and exporter, where she was responsible for various finance functions, including accounting, tax, financial planning and analysis, treasury, invoicing and external reporting. Prior to that, she was LATAM Finance Vice-President of Relacom S.A, a leading technology services provider based in Sweden and also spent 25 years at Xerox Corporation in roles of increasing responsibility in the Finance areas in Colombia, Panamá, México and USA. Ms. Duran graduated from Santo Tomás University in Bogotá in 1993 as a Certified Public Accountant with specialization in Taxes.


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.