The new standard in clinical trial productivity.

Management Leadership

AES’s leadership team has deep roots in life sciences and technology. They set out to make our company the complete global partner and solution for enrollment certainty in clinical trials. Learn more below.

Jill Pellegrino

Senior Vice President,
General Manager

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Jill Pellegrino Senior Vice President, General Manager

Jill Pellegrino serves as senior vice president and general manager of Accelerated Enrollment Solutions (AES), a PPD site conduct and patient enrollment business that includes a global network of more than 180 research sites spanning five continents and 17 countries, as well as a database of more than 100 million households of fully identified patients. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing AES’ strategic direction and financial growth.

Pellegrino joined Acurian – a patient enrollment business acquired by PPD in 2013 – as a statistical analyst in 2007, and she has since held multiple leadership positions overseeing various functions of the AES business. She was the original author of the proprietary pricing and forecasting algorithms that serve as the foundation for AES’ performance-based business model. Most recently, Pellegrino led AES’ project strategy and delivery division, responsible for the analytics, proposals, project management, and site and patient feasibility functions. Prior to Acurian, she was head analyst at Radian Guaranty.

Pellegrino holds a business administration degree in mathematics and computer science from La Salle University.

Jenelle Metka

Vice President,
Human Resources

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Jenelle Metka Vice President, Human Resources

Jenelle brings over a decade of human resources experience to her role at AES. She most recently served as director for human resource services, global business centers and corporate functions for VWR International, honing her skills in developing business unit strategy prior to joining AES in 2018.

Previously, Jenelle held roles with Nobel Learning Communities and Zimmerman Industries, through which she gained extensive experience in global talent strategy and organizational design. Her background involves work in all facets of human resources, including employee development, recruitment, workforce planning, benefits, HR administration and business partnering for a variety of client groups.

Jenelle graduated from Kutztown University with a major in biology and earned a Master’s degree in Administration at West Chester University.

Dr. Dawie Wessels

Chief Medical Officer

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Dr. Dawie Wessels Chief Medical Officer

As chief medical officer, Dawie’s vast of experience and high level of expertise has been the key driver in the development of our global presence since joining AES in 2016. Previously, he worked with Parexel International, a multinational life science company to establish a transparent operational governance process.

Dawie holds Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of the Free State in South Africa.

Reinhold Schulz

Vice President,
Site Operations

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Reinhold Schulz Vice President, Site Operations

With more than 20 years of operations experience and a track record of successfully integrating and optimizing clinical research units, Reinhold leads Site Operations at AES. Prior to joining AES, Reinhold held senior leadership roles managing clinical pharmacology sites on a global level at PPD and Parexel, respectively.

Reinhold holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry and a Bachelor’s of Medical Sciences in Pharmacology from the University of the Free State in South Africa, and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Maria Kraus

Chief Financial Officer

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Maria Kraus Chief Financial Officer

With more than 20 years of financial leadership and industry experience, Maria leads AES’ financial management, and supports the company’s strategy, operational delivery and execution, and commercial pursuits. Prior to joining AES, Maria was the Executive Vice President of Corporate Development & Strategy at Bioclinica where she was responsible for the company’s growth through mergers and acquisitions and key business partnerships. She also served as the interim president of Bioclinica’s global site network business, which AES acquired in August 2019.

Maria has a degree in accounting from The Pennsylvania State University, and a certificate in human resources management from Villanova.  A CPA in the state of Pennsylvania, Maria also currently serves on the board of directors of the Hershey Trust Company & Milton Hershey School, and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania.

Dr. Riaan Van Tonder

Vice President,
Global Delivery

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Dr. Riaan Van Tonder Vice President, Global Delivery

Riaan leads the Global Project Delivery team for AES.  A medical doctor by training, he worked in the public and private health sectors in both South Africa and the United Kingdom before joining the pharmaceutical industry in 2007. He has held various positions of leadership in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries before joining AES in 2016.

Riaan holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) degree from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, a Diploma in Obstetrics from the College of Medicine South Africa, and a Masters of Business Leadership from the University of South Africa.

Paul Richmond

Vice President,
Business Development

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Paul Richmond Vice President, Business Development

Paul is Head of Commercial for Accelerated Enrollment Solutions and has been in drug development for over 20 years in various research and commercial roles. Prior to joining AES, Paul was a founding member of PPD Biotech and Head of PPD Biotech in EMEA and East Coast, North America. Paul also held positions in drug development at PPD, Covance, Onyx Scientific, BOC, and Procter and Gamble. He holds a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Durham UK.

Dr. Pengcheng Ha

General Manager,
AES China

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Dr. Pengcheng Ha General Manager, AES China

Dr. Pengcheng Ha has served for 12 years as General Manager of what has become AES China. She has grown the company from dozens of employees in 2009 to over 450 employees today.

Pengcheng’s career spans 30 years in various roles of ever-increasing responsibility in clinical, pre-clinical, and nutrition / toxicology research. Her experience includes roles as Study Director / Senior Study Director at ITR Laboratories Canada Inc., Clinical Scientist at Theratechnologies Inc. (Montreal), and Research Scientist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control.

Upon returning to China in 2005 after 10 years abroad, Pengcheng served as Director at the Drug Safety Evaluation Center, Institute of Laboratory Animal Research, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, where she helped the center obtain National Medical Products Administration Good Laboratory Practices certification. From 2006–2008, Pengcheng joined Nordic Research Central Lab (NRCL) in Beijing as the lab Director in charge of overall lab operations, and eventually obtained ISO 17025 and CAP certifications for NRCL.

Pengcheng graduated with an MD from Shanghai Medical University, now part of Fudan University in China, and an MS in Nutritional Toxicology from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Jennifer Gwazdauskas

Vice President,
Project Management

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Jennifer Gwazdauskas Vice President, Project Management

Jennifer leads the global project management, global site relations, and PMO groups at AES. She has been working in drug development for over 25 years in both the biotech and biopharm environments and CROs. Jennifer joins us at AES from our parent company, PPD, where she served in the Biotech Portfolio Lead role, East region. Jennifer holds an MBA from Pfieffer University.