Team

Who gets it done?

Our online business is retail. Our team has got it all, a great match of seasoned entrepreneurs and professionals in both e-business and retail. We are fully matched as we believe in striving for excellence rooted in creativity and agility. We share a strong bond in human values and commitment to sustainability goals. We simply enjoy working together. 
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Alexey Lee

Chief Executive Officer 

Tech entrepreneur, who previously built 2 e-commerce startups, ran them into the largest players in their respective fields (Ticketon and Aviata). He became the deal originator for the merger of 2 largest OTAs in Kazakhstan, and later sold his shares to the second part. He chose carefully which company could be his next big thing, that's how PineMelon has started.

 

Alexey loves reading books, riding a bike and raising his two daughters. 

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Christopher Franklin

General Manager, USA

Before joining Pinemelon, Chris spent nearly 25 years in a variety of food and beverage businesses, ranging from restaurants to grocery retail to food manufacturing and distribution. Chris graduated from Cornell University and has had the opportunity to live all over the US, but now happily makes Colorado home.

Most of his responsibilities have been in operations, but he's enjoyed recent opportunities with startups where he can have an impact on all aspects of the business. One of his favorite roles is seeking out unique partnerships with local producers.

When not working, Chris enjoys running, cooking, and hiking in the Rocky Mountains with his family and two boxers.

Narviza Kurmanbayeva

CFO

More than 15 years at management roles in financial organizations with oversight and responsibility for the finance, risk management and sales teams 

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Madina Mazina 

Chief Product Officer

Madina in a few years grew very fast from starting positions in marketing to CMO, then successfully transitioned to product management and then to leading roles in managing the whole company. 2 years after the merger of Alexey's OTA business she joined the current team in PineMelon.

 

Madina can easily be a symbol of a perfectionist and an innovator. 

Alan Muldagulov

Chief Operations Officer

Sales and Distribution professional with 13 years of experience in FMCG distribution business of Central Asia region and significant achievements in business development, commercial strategy and operations.

 

Alan has a heart full of love for people. He is an avid cycler. 

Larissa Pak

Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

25 years in corporate and marketing communications in FMCG, retail banking, independent projects. As a managing director in a fintech – kaspi.kz Larissa helped to transform the brand from #10 to #1 and to grow customer base x17 times. Larissa is also very passionate about the community and has been a TEDx organizer since 2010. 

 

During lockdown she baked sourdough bread and croissants, it was a huuuge hit. 

Ruslan Pogorelov

Vice-President Operations

Before joining Arbuz.kz as its first CEO in 2018 Ruslan had more than 15 years of managerial experience as a CEO and top manager of leading insurance companies, commercial and investment banks in Kazakhstan. As a VP of PineMelon Ruslan is responsible for support and coordination of international teams and operations.

 

Ruslan graduated from University of Reading (England) in 2001 with MA degree in banking.

Loves mountain hiking and road bike racing.

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Johnny Schepens

Managing Director, Belgium / Benelux region       

A 32 year career in all facets of fast moving consumer goods has seen Johnny lead business development across the map. His reach and experience extend from starting up operations to leading major go-to market changes across all of Central Asia and Eastern Europe. 

 

The traveling general manager lifestyle, based out of Belgium, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, has since seen Johnny return to his roots in Belgium. With green fingers inherited from his mother, he is now at Pinemelon doing what he does best.

Johnny is as experienced as he is passionate in scuba diving, photography, and now even dabbles in beekeeping! His personal vegetable garden has also grown at an alarming rate since Corona. Fresh honey and home grown vegetables have since become very popular in the entire family, more of that for everyone and preferably delivered directly to your door.

Arman Suleimenov 

Managing Director, USA

Before Pinemelon, Arman has been the founder & CEO of nFactorial School – online school preparing software engineering professionals who work at BigTech.

 

He also lived in India where he co-founded and served as CTO of Hora.AI whose product, florencecapital.in, is India's first loan app designed exclusively for women.

 

Before that, he was the co-founder & CEO of Zero To One Labs, one of the leading mobile app studios in Central Asia. Arman is ACM ICPC World Finalist and holds Computer Science degrees from Purdue and Princeton.

 

He loves watching kung-fu movies as well as playing Lumosity and Settlers of Catan.