Advisory Board

The GTNF Advisory Board was created in 2014. The board brings together industry leaders and experts in all aspects of tobacco and nicotine, including vital issues such as sustainability and next-generation products.

Chaired since October 2017 by Michiel Reerink, global regulatory strategy vice president at Japan Tobacco International (JTI), the 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. Advisory Board members for 2018 include:


Michiel Reerink chairs the Advisory Board. He is global regulatory strategy vice president at Japan Tobacco International (JTI). Reerink 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 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 its Geneva headquarters to lead the global regulatory strategy department, which directs JTI’s strategy and responses to emerging global priority issues, including plain packaging. reerink-web
Germana Barba is vice president of regulatory strategy and engagement at Philip Morris International (PMI). Previously, she held various positions in the areas of regulatory, government and EU affairs in various countries. In her current position, Barba is responsible for regulatory and government affairs for PMI’s reduced-risk products and conventional tobacco products. Before joining PMI, she worked in journalism and politics. Barba is a member of the Italian Association of Journalists, a former Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar and an Aspen Junior Fellow. She holds a Master of Science degree in international relations and a Master of Science in EU studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
John Clayton is group head of government affairs at British American Tobacco (BAT), based in London. 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 Programme 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. John Clayton
Moira Gilchrist is vice president of scientific and public communications at Philip Morris International (PMI). Prior to this role, Gilchrist was vice president for corporate affairs and reduced-risk products at 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 16 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.
Graham Kayes is Alliance One International’s executive vice president for business relationship management and leaf. He assumed this position in July 2014. Kayes brings more than 30 years of experience in the tobacco industry to his current position. He joined Standard Commercial Corp., one of Alliance One’s predecessor companies, in 1988 and worked in a variety of roles throughout the African region. Most recently, Kayes served as regional director of the African region and managing director of the company’s Tanzanian subsidiary. Born in Malawi, but of British and Kenyan nationality, Kayes attended school in England and moved to Kenya when he joined the company. He is currently located in the Alliance One headquarters in Morrisville, North Carolina, USA.
Mark Kehaya is a past chairman of the GTNF Advisory Board. He 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. 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 LLC, an investment firm specializing in restructurings and turnarounds of middle-market companies. mark-kehaya
Patricia I. Kovacevic Esq. is the general counsel and chief compliance officer of Nicopure Labs LLC, the leading e-liquid and vaping device manufacturer of U.S.-made Halo 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, product development and launch. In the past she was a United Nations staff member, served on the UN’s Public-Private Partnership Commission and was also an advisor 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 Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School in New York and has completed the Harvard Business School “Corporate Leader” course. She is fluent in seven European languages. Patricia Kovacevic 1 - Copy
Alexander Kryvosheyev is vice president of corporate affairs for Japan Tobacco International (JTI). 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. A.Kryvosheyev 030
Mike Ligon is vice president of corporate affairs at Universal Leaf Tobacco Co., responsible for worldwide management of government and corporate affairs. He focuses on regulatory issues related to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, as well as trade agreements under the World Trade Organization. Ligon joined Universal in 1982. His previous positions include president of Universal’s CASA Export, president of America’s Harvest and sales director for Universal Leaf North America. Ligon serves on the tobacco industry-related boards of the Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation and TMA, as well as three other nonprofit organizations in the Richmond, Virginia, USA, area. mike ligon
Mike Ogden is senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at RAI Services, based in North Carolina, USA. Ogden is responsible for scientific and regulatory advocacy and 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. mike ogden
Christopher Proctor is British American Tobacco’s chief scientific officer. He oversees research programs that ensure product stewardship of conventional and next-generation tobacco and nicotine products, as well as the development of methodologies to determine whether next-generation products can be described as reduced-risk products. He is an author of numerous scientific papers related to tobacco harm reduction and has published a book that looked at the importance of the interaction between science, policy and consumers. proctor-web
Jim Solyst is vice president of federal regulatory affairs at 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. solyst-web
Huub Vizee is Delfortgroup’s head of regulatory affairs. Based in Austria, he is responsible for dealing with all tobacco-related regulatory issues worldwide. Vizee also is president of Coresta. Prior to joining Delfortgroup in September 2011, Vizee 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 a global, regional and market level. He also represented Imperial Tobacco on the boards of CECCM, ECMA and Coresta. Vizee has worked in the tobacco industry for 28 years, in areas such as leaf, research, engineering, quality assurance, product development and corporate affairs. VIZEE_2016

David 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 continued to pursue this area of research when he joined Advanced Technologies Cambridge, a BAT subsidiary, where he studied the potential of genetic modification to introduce novel processing and agronomic traits into tobacco and other crops. 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 served as the first chairman of the Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum Advisory Board until 2016. david oreilly