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Inside the “Green Rush”

October 5, 2017 at 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm EDT

About the Program

The emerging legal marijuana business is attracting money and attention. But what’s it like to invest and manage in this industry? After 30 years on Wall Street, Robert Birnbaum founded and ran one of the initial four licensed medical marijuana producers in Connecticut. Join Robert as he describes the progression from “How hard could this be? It’s a weed!”, to facing surprising challenges, pitfalls, and opportunities, until finally a successful company emerged. It’s a business like no other, join us to find out why.

About the Speaker

ROBERT BIRNBAUM’S career has been distinguished by a high degree of creativity and analysis, combined with excellent communication skills, on Wall Street and in the emerging Medical Marijuana industry.  In all cases, he has built businesses through in-depth product knowledge, strategic insight, marketing ability and persistent execution.

Between 2009 and 2013, Robert was a private investor, using Peartree Trading LLC as his investment vehicle.  In 2013, backed by his own capital and a small group of investors, Robert founded Curaleaf LLC, a licensed medical marijuana producer in Connecticut.  After winning one of Connecticut’s coveted licenses, Robert served as Chairman and CEO of Curaleaf for most of its history, until a controlling interest was sold in March of 2017.

In 2005, Robert co-founded Third Wave Global Investors LLC, a global macro hedge fund in Greenwich Connecticut, and served as its President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Compliance Officer.  He also served as Director of the Third Wave Global Master Fund until 2009.  The firm grew from a relatively small investment by its principals to over $500 million in assets within three years.  Clients included major global banks, large hedge fund-of-funds, and high net worth individuals.  Robert was responsible for all aspects of the business – marketing, client service, compliance, finance, operations, and technology.  His successes were featured in Global Custodian magazine.

Prior to Third Wave, Robert served from 2001 to 2004 as Managing Director and Head of Institutional Distribution and Client Service for Columbia Management Group (owned by Bank of America), with responsibility for over $60 billion in assets under management, $200 million in annual revenue, and 300 employees.  During his tenure, Robert integrated 5 separate firms into one coherent sales and marketing organization, with effective positioning to clients, consultants, and prospects, and increased sales to over $3 billion annually.  He was a member of Columbia Management’s Operating Committee.

Between 1998 and 2001, he was Managing Director and Head of Marketing and Global E-Commerce for Credit Suisse Asset Management.  Robert was named an Impact Player of the Year by Defined Contribution News, an Institutional Investor publication.  He was a member of the Management Committee of CSAM-Americas.

From 1988 to 1998, Robert held a variety of posts at J.P. Morgan Investment Management, culminating in Managing Director and Head of Defined Contribution, and received industry recognition for his innovations.  He grew the business at an annual compound rate of 40% to $120 million in annual revenue.  Much of his time at Morgan was spent building and leading the non-sales Marketing group, which focused on product development and product positioning across all channels.  In this role, Robert was recognized for leveraging the overall business globally, including into new markets.

Robert began his career in the investment management business with The Vanguard Group, where he was the Senior Product Manager responsible for fund development and retirement plans.

Robert holds an A.B. from Columbia University, and an M.B.A., with Distinction, in Finance from Wharton.


The CEO Trust is where CEOs come together to help each other in ways only we can — with camaraderie, counsel and referrals.  Trustees (members) share important values in common, which, because subscribed by all, create a warm, collaborative environment.  Meaningful interactions with trusted peers is efficient, and results in tangible business impact and valuable professional and personal relationships.


6:00 pm – Registration and Networking Reception
6:30 pm – Presentation and Q&A


Complimentary pre-registration is required to attend this program. Register online, by phone or e-mail:

  1. Complete the online registration form
  2. Call us at 646-312-3231 or
  3. E-mail us at ruzdo.srdanovic@baruch.cuny.edu

Registration / More information about this event…


October 5, 2017
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm EDT


Baruch College – Library Building Room 750-760
151 East 25 Street
New York, NY 10010 United States


Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity