Charles Morgan, Chairman
Charles Morgan is a resources and technology venture capitalist who has identified emerging sectors and acquired early stage and strategic positions in a wide range of ventures around the globe. He has a proven track record in identifying early stage commercial opportunities and acting as a corporate catalyst, acquiring strategic assets and positions, partnering with regional and technology experts, securing teams of appropriate executives and funds to build and develop projects and companies. He has a number of successful exits to his name.
Charles started his career in futures broking in London with M.L. Doxford & Co and left to join merchant bank Morgan Grenfell Limited in Sydney, Australia before moving to broking with ANZ McCaughan Dyson Limited in Melbourne and London. He then joined BZW Securities Limited in London before going back to Australia to form Morgan McFarlane a licensed securities dealer which raised equity funds for mining and oil exploration companies.
Charles is involved in investing in various businesses and start-ups in the UK and San Francisco including Neuro‐Bio Ltd (discoverer of cause and potential drugs for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Motor Neurone Disease), TGMatrix (shipper and transport matching engine), Brytlyt (GPU based data base analytics), PensionBee (gathering people’s various pensions into one), Teamable (social media based employment) and Headnote (de‐chequing legal firms in the US).
Melissa Sturgess, Chief Executive Officer
Melissa Sturgess holds a BSc and an MBA and has more than 20 years of experience as a director of UK and Australian Stock Exchange quoted companies, in the roles of Chair, CEO and non-executive director. She has also chaired listed company audit committees and served on remuneration and corporate governance committees.
Melissa’s interest in the cannabis sector commenced with a trip to Israel in 2017 to review the medicinal cannabis research in that country. She subsequently co-founded UK based, AQSE quoted Ananda Developments Plc. Ananda holds a licence from the Home Office to grow medical cannabis in the UK for research and is currently conducting field trials on various cultivars and undertaking a genetic breeding programme, ahead of applying for commercial licences. Melissa was the recipient of the Executive of the Year at the Malta Cannabiz Awards in November 2019. She is a committee member of the Cannabis Industry Council and Co-Chair of its Research Working Group.
Melissa commenced her listed company career as a member of the Executive Committee of Aquarius Platinum Limited, the most successful Australian/UK dual listed company and a miner of platinum in South Africa and Zimbabwe. She was also founding director of Sylvania Resources Limited and a number of other companies operating in the metals and mining sector throughout Africa and listed on the AIM Market in London. During her career Melissa has raised significant amounts of capital and in 2017 she spearheaded the structuring and £50m financing for the acquisition of a building materials business in the Channel Islands. She is also a non-executive director of Lexington Gold Limited, an AIM quoted gold exploration company.
Nigel Gale PhD, Head of Plant Science
Nigel has extensive experience in GACP and EU-GMP with a proven track record in developing genetics and successfully cultivating for EU markets, including developing top-selling genetic cultivars for both the medical and recreational cannabis markets in Canada. Nigel has moved to the UK from Canada, where he was Head/Director of Cultivation for several Canadian Licensed Producers. During his time in Canada, Nigel regularly managed the cultivation of up to 100,000 cannabis plants. Nigel is also an Associate Editor of Frontiers in Soil Sciences and the International Journal of Plant Biology.
Steve Murray, Head of Cultivation
Steve was previously managing 1.4Ha of medical cannabis growing in the UK for a cultivator under contract to GW Pharmaceuticals. He has set up and run large scale farming and intensive pharmaceutical grade production systems.
Frances Crewdson, Chief Commercial Officer
Frances has over 25 years’ experience in marketing, innovation and business development in the consumer healthcare, nutrition and biotech industries. She has held commercial positions in oral health, respiratory health, pain management, gastrointestinal health, weight management, sexual health, sports nutrition and vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS), managing global portfolios and cross-functional teams. She has extensive experience of new category identification, research and prioritisation, as well as the creation of innovation pipelines for global and regional brands.
Jeremy Sturgess-Smith, Head of Corporate Finance and Investor Relations
Jeremy is a co-founder of Ananda and played a key role in its initial public offering in July 2018 and drove Ananda’s acquisition of its initial 50% shareholding of DJT Plants in 2019. In addition to his corporate finance and investor relations responsibilities Jeremy manages the Ananda and DJT Group accounting functions, the audit process, DJT Plants’ site security arrangements, IT and HR. Jeremy is also a director of Montana Global Limited.