Management Team

Gopal K. Chopra M.D., Co-Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Chopra is a Neurosurgeon, Entrepreneur and co-Founder of pingmd, Hansen Medical, and other healthcare technology companies. Dr. Chopra has extensive experience in working with competitors in LVAD Space. Dr. Chopra was a senior investment banker with Lazard Freres working on many transformative cardiology company M&A and financing transactions, both public and private as well as strategic positions at BostonScentific and advisor to many of the large medical device companies. He has been an invited expert for his work in Neuroscience, Neurosurgery, Robotics and Neurocognition. Dr. Chopra obtained his medical degree from the University of Melbourne in Australia, his degree in neurosurgery from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and his master’s degree in business from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Dr. Chopra will be focused on European and USA sales Growth and Clinical Operations.

Richard M. Smith, Co-Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Smith is the former CEO and board member of BioScrip, Inc. a specialty pharmacy and alternate site infusion provider.  Mr. Smith established industry leading clinical programs in heart failure managing as many as 5,000 heart failure patients on a monthly basis for inotropic infusion therapy, many in combination with LVAD technologies.  Mr. Smith’s clinicians and sales teams worked closely with the leading transplant centers in the United States and was the exclusive transplant provider for the United Healthcare/Optum Transplant Center of Excellence Program Nationally.Mr. Smith has a Bachelors of Science in Accounting and a Masters in Science, Taxation from De Paul University, Chicago, IL.

Sailesh Saxena, President and Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Saxena is President and Chief Financial Officer and a Co-Founder of ReliantHeart. Mr. Saxena has served as our Chief Financial Officer since June 2013.  Prior to this, he was the Chief Financial Officer of MMC from March 2010 to June 2013 and the Chief Financial Officer of MMT from March 2010 to June 2013. Mr. Saxena assisted MMC as a consultant from September 2009 to February 2010.  From September 2007 to September 2009, he was an independent financial consultant. He has more than 27 years of operating and consulting experience in financial services, supply chain management, information technology, research and development, and operations. Mr. Saxena has worked with numerous private equity fund companies, providing financial consulting and analysis on transactions to raise capital for acquisitions or investment projects, including Matador Capital partners, Wright Capital, USGT Investors LP, and Trinity Private Equity.  Mr. Saxena has an MBA from Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India.

Bryan E. Lynch, Chief Technical Officer

Mr. Lynch is our Chief Technical Officer and is a Co-Founder of ReliantHeart. Mr. Lynch has served as our Chief Technology Officer since June 2013. Previously, Mr. Lynch held positions with MMC and MMT. Mr. Lynch was the Chief Technology Officer of MMC from June 2006 to December 2012 and was the Vice President International Sales and Marketing at MMT from 1999 to 2005 and Vice President Operations of MMT from 1997 to 1999. Mr. Lynch has worked in the medical device industry for more than 30 years and has gained technology, product design, and manufacturing experience through positions with Komet Medical, Surgimedics Inc., and RADX Corp. He received a Master’s in Business Administration from the Neeley School at Texas Christian University in 1987 and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Texas Tech University in 1983.


Cindy McKelroy, Vice President, Quality & Regulatory Affairs

Ms. McKelroy is our Vice President of Regulatory and Quality Systems. She has held this position since June 2013.  Previously, Ms. McKelroy served as the Vice President of Regulatory and Quality Systems of MMC from January 2012 to October 2013 and as Director of Regulatory and Quality Systems of MMC from May 2011 to January 2012.  From May 1997 to May 2011, she held the position of Site Manager, Quality Systems at Merit Medical Systems Inc. (previously Mallinckrodt Medical, which was purchased by Merit in 1999), an angiography, guiding, and drainage catheter manufacturing facility, where she was responsible for the Quality Management System and regulatory compliance. Ms. McKelroy earned a B.S. in Medical Technology from the University of Houston/Clear Lake in August 1981 (registered MT with ASCP, American Society of Clinical Pathologists, from October 1981-1988).


Rob Petterson, Managing Director – Europe

Rob Petterson joined ReliantHeart in January 2014 as Managing Director for Europe, responsible for ReliantHeart’s business operations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Prior to that, he co-founded First Clinical and Technical Services Ltd., which remains the only company in Europe committed to providing essential service, parts, and support to existing VAD patients no longer supported by their former companies. He is based at the European headquarters in Uden, Netherlands, and is responsible for leading, developing, and growing our business in Europe.  Mr. Petterson has managed European business operations for MicroMed, Ventracor, and WorldHeart during his career, and was EU Business Development Director at Edwards Lifesciences. He managed Logistic and Technical Services at Baxter Healthcare and was a Technical Product Specialist at Bentley Laboratories.

Jennifer Michael, Vice President, Information Systems

Ms. Michael joined ReliantHeart in July 2014. She has 13 years of experience in IT across multiple industries, including medical device manufacturing, higher education, and non-profit organizations. From June 2006 to June 2013, she worked at SynCardia, where she was IT manager and led several technology and systems initiatives. She has considerable experience with implementing quality systems in a regulated environment. She has a Masters of Science in Information Systems from Arizona State University.