New York -- PRESS RELEASE -- Merida Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on high-conviction investments in the cannabis ecosystem, announced it added former Omnicom Group Inc.executive Tom Harrison and former Medco Health Solutions, Inc. executive Pamela Galassini as senior operating partners.
Both executives bring extensive corporate experience to Merida and will focus on supporting the firm and its portfolio companies in the healthcare, media and data sectors. Initially, Harrison will join the board of directors of MediaJel, a global creative and multimedia agency while Galassini will join Manna Molecular, a cannabis biotech and product innovation firm, in an operations executive role. In the coming months, both senior operating partners will assume additional corporate roles at the firm as well as with Merida’s portfolio companies.
“As our portfolio grows in size and complexity, executives like Tom and Pam with institutional backgrounds in healthcare, media and pharmaceuticals will allow our firm to further drive our cannabis ecosystem strategy, while giving our portfolio companies more hands-on support needed to manage their hyper-growth responsibly,” said Mitchell Baruchowitz, Merida Capital Partners' managing partner.
Harrison, previously the president, chairman and CEO of Diversified Agency Services (DAS), a global group of marketing services companies and division of Omnicom Group Inc., now serves as chairman emeritus. Under Harrison’s nearly 20-year tenure, DAS grew to become the largest worldwide holding company of entrepreneur-led marketing services companies competing in the public relations, CRM, promotional/experiential/field marketing, branding, research, events and talent procurement, along with clinically-focused companies in the healthcare and wellness sectors.
Harrison is a former board member of Zynerba Pharmaceuticals and currently serves on the boards of Montefiore Health System and Madison Logic. Additionally, Harrison was elected by his peers as a New York Academy of Medicine fellow; served as a member of The New York Academy of Sciences; is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; and holds an honorary doctorate from West Virginia University, where he earned a graduate degree in cell biology and physiology.
“The undeniable clinical importance and versatility of cannabis and CBD is changing the healthcare and wellness landscape,” said Harrison. “I am excited to work alongside such a talented and diverse group of entrepreneurial leaders in this dynamic space to add strategic value and help accelerate growth for the firm and its portfolio companies which are poised to benefit greatly from these positive market changes.”
Galassini brings more than 20 years of pharmacy benefit management, payor insights and pharmaceutical manufacturer strategies and solutions experience to Merida. Throughout the nearly two decades spent at Medco Health Solutions, Inc, which was acquired for $29B by Express Scripts in 2011, Pam served in a number of roles within the organization, including as the company’s Pharmaceutical Strategies & Solutions Senior Vice President, Government & Labor Senior Vice President and the Central Region Vice President of Sales.
Additionally, Galassini served as the CEO of Leafline Labs, one of only two medical cannabis vertical operators licensed in the state of Minnesota. She holds a B.S. in Speech Communication and Rhetoric from the University of Illinois.
“After years of failing to comprehensively address our nation’s ongoing opioids crisis and flawed healthcare policies, consumers are now demanding smarter health and wellness solutions,” said Galassini. “As a new era in responsible, plant-based health and wellness solutions dawns, I am eager to bring my years of healthcare experience to Merida, Manna Molecular and Merida’s portfolio of cannabis and hemp companies."