Advisory Board

The GTNF advisory board was created by Tobacco Reporter magazine in 2014. Comprising industry leaders from various tobacco business segments and chaired by John Clayton, group head of government affairs at British American Tobacco, the 2016 advisory board continues to foster the evolution of the GTNF as a world-class networking and knowledge-sharing forum.

As part of its mission, the board provides insight and timely knowledge about upcoming trends to inform the conference program and help ensure that relevant political, legislative and regulatory developments are thoroughly covered. Tobacco Reporter is pleased to present its advisory board members below.


mark-kehayaMark Kehaya is chairman of the board of Alliance One International (AOI), a position he has held since December 2010. He served as interim CEO of AOI from December 2010 until February 2013.

Kehaya has also served as chairman of Madvapes Holdings, an owner and operator of retail vape shops and manufacturer and wholesaler of related products, since August 2015.

From April 1993 to March 2000, he was employed by Standard Commercial Corp., a predecessor company to AOI, serving as assistant to the president, finance director of the tobacco division, vice president for planning and CEO of Standard Commercial’s tobacco processing facility in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Kehaya remains a founding partner at Meriturn Partners, an investment firm specializing in restructurings and turnarounds of middle-market companies.


John ClaytonJohn Clayton  is group head of government affairs at British American Tobacco (BAT), based in London, U.K. Previously, Clayton was Vice President of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs for Imperial Tobacco, Canada.

From 2006 to 2008, he held the post of Program Manager of the Global Harm Reduction Program for BAT; prior to this he was International Regulatory and Public Affairs Manager and has also been Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility for BAT in Japan.

Clayton speaks Japanese fluently.


adam_cleave320Adam Cleave is senior corporate affairs strategy manager for Imperial Tobacco Limited, part of the group corporate affairs team that sets and drives strategies across both the Group and market Corporate Affairs teams.

Adam has held numerous posts in manufacturing, trade marketing, business intelligence and corporate affairs since first joining Imperial Tobacco in 1998.

He also headed up the Corporate Affairs function for Imperial’s New Zealand business during a short transitional period, and has previously worked for the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs as a tobacco industry senior adviser to the business tax teams.

Outside of work Adam enjoys keeping fit, DIY and spending time with friends and family.


moira_gilchrist_4Moira Gilchrist is director of scientific engagement at Philip Morris International (PMI) Research and Development. Gilchrist is responsible for driving the transparent and comprehensive communication of PMI’s reduced-risk product science to stakeholders in the scientific, public health and regulatory communities.

She joined PMI R&D in 2006 and has held a variety of roles focused on the development, assessment and commercialization of reduced-risk products.

Gilchrist has 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, working initially in product development roles and subsequently in management consultancy with PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM Business Consulting Services.


chris koddermannChris Koddermann is director of regulatory affairs at Philip Morris International (PMI). Based at PMI’s operations center in Switzerland, Koddermann provides PMI regions and markets with strategic advice and support in the design and execution of regulatory campaigns.

Prior to moving to Switzerland, Koddermann headed up the corporate affairs function for PMI’s Canadian affiliate, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges.

Koddermann has worked as a public policy specialist and senior adviser to ministers in Canada’s federal and provincial governments. In addition, Koddermann has managed or been a senior adviser on a number of Canadian provincial and federal election campaigns.


Patricia Kovacevic 1 - CopyPatricia I. Kovacevic is the general counsel and chief compliance officer of Nicopure Labs, the leading e-liquid and vapor device manufacturer of U.S.-made Halo, Purity and eVo e-liquids and Triton and G6 devices.

With extensive U.S. and international industry experience, Kovacevic held senior legal and compliance positions at, among others, Philip Morris International and Lorillard. Prior to joining Lorillard she was a partner at Patton Boggs. Her expertise includes global e-cigarette and tobacco regulation, compliance and all regulatory aspects of marketing/media communications, corporate affairs, criminal investigations, FCPA, trade sanctions, privacy, and product development and launch.

Kovacevic serves on the board of directors of the Vapor Technology Association and on the advisory board of the Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum. In the past she was a United Nations staff member, served on the U.N.’s Public-Private Partnership Commission and was also an adviser to the Council for Burley Tobacco.

Kovacevic is admitted to practice in New York and before the Supreme Court of the United States. She holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School in New York and has completed the Harvard Business School “Corporate Leader” course. She is fluent in seven European languages.


A.Kryvosheyev 030Alexander Kryvosheyev was appointed vice president, of corporate affairs, for Japan Tobacco International.

A Ukrainian national, Kryvosheyev joined R.J. Reynolds International in 1994 in Kiev as public relations specialist and transferred to JTI’s headquarters in Geneva in 2002, holding various positions in the corporate affairs and regulatory affairs departments.

Kryvosheyev holds a degree from a foreign languages institute in Kiev, where he also started his career in 1987.


mike ligon

Mike Ligon is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a B.S. in marketing management. Since beginning with Universal in 1982, he has served in varying capacities, from leaf buyer in the U.S. to origin manager for Mexico, Guatemala and Argentina; sales director for Universal Leaf North America; and president of America’s Harvest, a former Universal subsidiary. Today, he serves as vice president of corporate affairs for Universal Corp., where he manages government, regulatory, social and labor matters for the company.

Ligon is active in the nonprofit world and currently serves on several boards, including the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Communities in Schools of Virginia, Lead Virginia, VA Free, The Valentine and TMA, where he presently serves as chairman of the board.

Recently, he was appointed by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to the board of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. Ligon has devoted a significant amount of time to his church, where he presently serves as chairman of the trustees.

A Virginia native, Ligon today resides in Henrico County with his wife, Sharon. They are the proud parents of two married daughters, Michelle and Nicole. Ligon is passionate about family time and golf.


mike ogdenMike Ogden is RAI Services’ vice president of scientific & regulatory affairs, based in North Carolina, USA. Ogden is responsible for regulatory submissions and scientific engagement for all Reynolds American tobacco operating companies.

Previously, Ogden was in charge of various R&D programs for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., including those related to environmental tobacco smoke, measuring smoke uptake in smokers through the use of biomarkers, smoking behavior research, clinical studies, regulatory compliance activities and scientific and regulatory strategy.


okerekeFlora Okereke is currently head of regulatory policy and engagement at British American Tobacco’s headquarters in the U.K., where she has held various roles, including head of legal services for West Africa and head of regulation for the Eastern European, Middle East and Africa region.

Prior to joining BAT, Okereke was a solicitor in a City of London law firm and was admitted as a barrister of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple. Okereke is also a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Okereke is an employee of a global organization that operates in a highly regulated environment. She is involved in negotiating several legislative acts and policy consultations.

Okereke’s overall responsibility is to ensure regulatory risks are understood and managed effectively from a global level and ultimately to achieve balanced regulatory solutions within a compliance timetable that does not unduly impact her organization.


reerink-webMichiel Reerink is the global regulatory strategy vice president at Japan Tobacco International (JTI). He started his career in the tobacco industry in 1996 at a tobacco trade association in the Netherlands.

In 2001, he joined a major tobacco company to take responsibility for corporate affairs in Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) and Germany. In 2004, he established the company’s EU affairs office in Brussels and subsequently led its EU engagement.

In 2010, Reerink joined JTI at the Geneva headquarters to head the global regulatory strategy department, which leads JTI’s strategy and advocacy responses to global priority issues.


solyst-webJim Solyst is vice president, federal regulatory affairs, Swedish Match North America. He directs the company’s modified-risk tobacco products process and engages the tobacco control, public health and scientific communities.

During his time in Washington, Solyst worked with agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Office of Management and Budget.

He has also worked with the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Solyst is a member of the Food Drug Law Institute Tobacco Committee and the American Chemical Society Committee on Environmental Improvement.


ron tullyRon Tully is the founder of TNV Ventures, a specialty consultancy and business advisory service that provides strategic public policy guidance and business development services to the vapor, nicotine and tobacco industries. He is also a partner in New York-based Calumet, an international business consultancy and investment platform for the vapor industry.

Tully is a founding partner in Next Generation Labs, a company established in 2014 to develop nontobacco nicotine sources for the vapor and pharmaceutical industries.

Tully is an experienced senior public policy expert who previously managed international federal and state regulatory issues for National Tobacco Co. (NTC), including the broader Food and Drug Administration engagement strategy on vapor products.

Prior to working at NTC, Tully worked as vice president of public affairs at Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co.

Tully is a board member of the U.S. Vapor Technology Association, which focuses on lobbying and public relation communications for the U.S. vapor industry. He is on the advisory board of the Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum and has been a longtime member of the U.K. Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders.

Tully was previously on the board of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association, the Small Business Cigar Coalition and the Council of Independent Tobacco Manufacturers of America.


VIZEE_2016Huub Vizee has spent the past 29 years working within the tobacco industry in many different areas, including leaf, research, engineering, quality, product development and corporate affairs.

Since September 2011, he has worked for Delfortgroup, based in Wattens, Austria, as head of regulatory affairs. In this role he is responsible for dealing with all tobacco-related regulatory issues worldwide and also represents Delfortgroup on the board of Coresta as vice president.

In his previous positions, he worked for Van Nelle, Douwe Egberts and Imperial Tobacco, where his last position was head of group regulatory development. In this role he was responsible for leading Imperial Tobacco’s regulatory engagement as an active participant on global, regional and market levels.

In this role he also represented Imperial Tobacco on the board of CECCM, the board of ECMA and the board of Coresta.


david oreillyDavid O’Reilly is British American Tobacco’s (BAT) group scientific and R&D director and chairman emeritus of the GTNF advisory board.

He graduated from Imperial College London in 1991 with a Ph.D. in molecular virology. He joined Advanced Technologies Cambridge, a BAT subsidiary, in 1991.

O’Reilly has been a driving force behind BAT’s multidisciplinary global R&D effort in consumer-led, science-based innovation in both combustible and next-generation tobacco and nicotine products.

He has also led the company’s programs in corporate social responsibility and scientific and public health policy and engagement. O’Reilly has been on BAT’s management board since January 2012.





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