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    John Hartmann

    Chief Executive Officer and Director

    John Hartmann

    Chief Executive Officer and Director

    John Hartmann is Chief Executive Officer and Director of Ascend Wellness Holdings Inc., a U.S. publicly listed multistate cannabis operator with assets in seven states. Hartmann is the former President of buybuyBaby and COO of Bed Bath & Beyond from 2020 to 2022. Previously, from 2013-2020, he was the President & Chief Executive Officer at True Value Company, a privately owned U.S. hardware wholesaler and manufacturer. Hartmann also led New Zealand-based Mitre 10 as Chief Executive Officer from 2010 to 2013, and held various executive positions at HD Supply, The Home Depot, and Cardinal Health. Prior to his corporate career, he served as a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Hartmann previously served on the Board and Audit Committee of AmeriGas and Board of HD Supply. In addition to serving on the Board of Boyd Group Services (dba Gerber Collison & Glass), he currently serves as an Independent Director of Freedom VCM Holdings, owners of The Vitamin Shoppe, American Freight, Pet Supplies Plus, amongst others.

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    Mark Cassebaum

    Chief Financial Officer

    Mark Cassebaum

    Chief Financial Officer

    Mark Cassebaum joined AWH as Chief Financial Officer in 2023. Mr. Cassebaum comes to AWH most recently from Centric Brands, a $3Bn wholesale/license global apparel company owned by Blackstone, where he served as Executive Vice President of Finance and Planning. He is a highly accomplished transformational executive with 25 years of experience supporting the financial integrity of public and private omni-channel businesses including e-Commerce, Wholesale, Retail, and Licenses. He has held progressive leadership positions at UPS (NYSE: UPS), Ralph Lauren (NYSE: RL), Bed Bath & Beyond, and more. Mr. Cassebaum is a process optimizer who tackles complex business challenges by developing sound strategies to streamline operations, reduce costs, quicken revenue growth, and maximize profits. He focuses on leveraging past successes and experience to deliver deeper analytics. He received his MBA in Finance & Supply Chain Management and B.S. in Finance from Rutgers University.
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    Melissa Feck

    Chief People Officer

    Melissa Feck

    Chief People Officer

    Melissa Feck joined AWH as Chief People Officer in January 2024. Ms. Feck has over 25 years of experience as a human resources leader. She was Chief Human Resources Officer most recently at Latham Pool Products (Nasdaq: SWIM) from 2016-2024, VP, HR and Member Education at the Healthcare Association of NYS in Rensselaer, NY from 2011-2016 and, previously, VP HR and Corporate Services at Broadview (CAP COM) Federal Credit Union in Albany, NY from 1993-2010 (during which she held prior management positions). While at Latham, Melissa was part of the leadership team responsible for the company’s IPO in 2021. In her former roles, Ms. Feck was responsible for HR strategy which includes talent management (recruitment, retention and career development), succession planning, total rewards/compensation/benefits, ESG/proxy human capital contributions, board relations, DEIB, Compensation Committee, performance management, culture, employee engagement, workforce planning, employee relations, mergers & acquisition people strategy, learning & development, employee safety and HR compliance/risk management.

    Ms. Feck received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University at Albany in 1993 She received her Senior Professional in Human Resources Certification in 2007. She has served as a member of Capital Region, NY non-profit boards including St. Catherine’s Center for Children, Whitney M. Young Health Center, and CAP COM Cares Foundation. She has also participated in many HR educational programs as a speaker and facilitator on myriad HR topics.

    Melissa resides in Altamont, NY with her husband Jim (Founder & President of DrumART, LLC) and their daughter Abby who is a student at Northeastern University and their son Andy who is a student at Rochester Institute of Technology.

  • David Gacom

    David Gacom

    Chief Commercial Officer

    David Gacom

    Chief Commercial Officer

    David Gacom serves as Chief Commercial Officer of Ascend Wellness, following his stint as Chief Operating Officer over the past two years. Reporting to CEO John Hartmann, Mr. Gacom brings 25 years of cross-functional experience spanning sales, operations, retail, marketing, supply chain, and commercialization in the cannabis and food and beverage industries. Prior to Ascend, Mr. Gacom led Cresco Labs as the Western Region President, leading all functions. Prior to cannabis, Mr. Gacom was the Chief Commercial Officer at Grecian Delight Foods, a leading provider of Mediterranean foods servicing the Retail and Foodservice channels and held progressive leadership roles at Kraft Heinz. Mr. Gacom has launched over 40 new product lines in commercial businesses worldwide, while driving operational efficiencies across manufacturing and cultivation facilities in public and privately held companies. Mr. Gacom holds an MBA from Kellogg’s Executive Management Program and a BBA in Marketing and Management Information Systems from the University of Notre Dame.
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    Rick Wilkins

    Chief of Stores

    Rick Wilkins

    Chief of Stores

    Mr. Wilkins joined AWH in 2023 and serves as Chief of Stores. He comes to AWH most recently from Bed Bath & Beyond where he was responsible for the Western United States and 350 stores with $1.5 billion in revenue. Previously, he held store leadership roles with Target, Starbucks and the Old Navy / Gap organizations. He has progressed through a highly successful career from individual store leadership to managing teams responsible for hundreds of stores. Mr. Wilkins brings a high level of energy and focus to his responsibilities. Many, if not all, of his past experiences are relevant today at Ascend. A sample of these include, enhancing the focus on the customer – through both product and service, opening new stores and remodeling existing assets, understanding and optimizing store routines, driving scheduling effectiveness, championing the brand loyalty program, and facilitating weekly, monthly and quarterly business reviews. Additionally, Mr. Wilkins has also been a major champion of both diversity in the workplace and community building.
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    Chris Holzer

    Chief of Operations

    Chris Holzer

    Chief of Operations

    Chris Holzer joined AWH as Chief of Operations in 2023. Mr. Holzer comes to AWH most recently from Bayer Crop Science where he held the role of Senior Vice President and Head of Quality – Product Supply, Seeds & Chemistry. Previously, Chris spent almost 15 years with Syngenta in both domestic and international assignments of increasing responsibility across roles focused on vegetable crops. Mr. Holzer brings a deep love of agriculture and experience in providing leadership in plant touching businesses. He has managed plant growth (greenhouse and open field) for seed production, yield, and quality with strict environmental controls. He also has experience working within regulated frameworks, while leveraging R&D and automation to build scale. In addition to his specific experiences in manufacturing, production, and supply chain, he is a culture builder and understands that leadership starts on the floor. Continuous improvement is important to Mr. Holzer, as he started his career with early roles as a process engineer and site manager in agrochemical and distillation businesses.

    He earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arkansas and he holds postgraduate certifications in Process Business Management from the University of Warwick and Global Production & Supply from INSEAD.

  • Pedulla

    Denise Pedulla

    Chief Legal Officer & Corporate Secretary

    Denise Pedulla

    Chief Legal Officer & Corporate Secretary

    Denise Pedulla joined AWH in 2023 as Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary. She joined AWH most recently from Conformis, Inc. where she was responsible for the legal, compliance, and governance functions in the medical/healthcare space. Previously, she held top roles in her 30-year career in both legal and compliance for public, private, and in-house counsel settings. Ms. Pedulla brings deep experience in providing leadership and cross-functional legal services to global life sciences companies. Many, if not all, of her past experiences are relevant for AWH, including mergers and acquisitions, working with federal and state regulatory enforcement agencies, effectively managing outside counsel, and experience serving as corporate secretary for public companies, and, earlier in her career as a registered nurse. Ms. Pedulla received her JD from Suffolk University and a Master of Public Health from Harvard University.
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    Frank Perullo

    Co-Founder, Director, and EVP of Corporate Affairs

    Frank Perullo

    Co-Founder, Director, and EVP of Corporate Affairs

    Frank Perullo is the EVP of Corporate Affairs and a Co-Founder of AWH. He also serves on the Board of Directors. Mr. Perullo’s leadership has been key to Ascend Wellness Holdings’ impressive growth trajectory and brand success. He spent his first three years as Chief Strategy Officer, during which time he spearheaded the company’s retail expansion strategy and built out AWH’s initial footprint. Previously, Mr. Perullo served as a strategic consultant for multi-national corporations. He was Founder of Novus Group and Sage Systems, one of the leading providers of web-based data management software, which he founded in 2002.
  • Rebecca Conti Koar

    Rebecca Conti Koar

    Executive Vice President of Investor Relations & Strategy

    Rebecca Conti Koar

    Executive Vice President of Investor Relations & Strategy

    Rebecca Koar joined AWH as Head of Investor Relations in June 2021. She currently serves as Executive Vice President of Investor Relations and Strategy. She previously also held the role of Corporate Secretary. Ms. Koar has 12+ years of professional experience spanning Mergers & Acquisitions, Corporate Strategy, Investor Relations, and Venture Capital at both public and private companies. She has held progressive leadership positions at Verizon (NYSE: VZ), Covanta Energy (NYSE: CVA), Conduent (NASDAQ: CNDT), and Golden Seeds. She has produced quarterly earnings communications for nearly 20 quarters, participated in over 30 completed acquisition processes, developed comprehensive corporate strategies for 3 companies, and participated in the evaluation of hundreds of venture offerings. At AWH, Ms. Koar is responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of investor programs, messaging, and activities, as well as near- and long-term corporate strategy initiatives. She also serves as Chair of the Editorial Committee for the National Investor Relations Institute's IR Update Magazine. Prior to her professional work, Ms. Koar graduated with a B.S. from the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Sciences with concentrations in Materials Science, Engineering Business, and Applied Math.
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