Michael Jemal

President and CEO

Immediately prior to founding Equity Brands, Michael Jemal served as Chairman, President and CEO of Haier America. He established Haier America in 1999 as the sales and marketing arm of the Western Hemisphere for global home appliance company Haier Group. With Jemal at the helm, Haier America realized tremendous growth year after year with sales approaching $750 million. Haier became the #1 brand of room air conditioners in the United States in 2000—less than five years after introducing it’s first models, and achieved #1 market share for Compact Refrigerators and Wine Cellars in subsequent years. 

With close to twenty years of experience in the licensing business, with brands like Black & Decker, Amana, AT&T, and Westinghouse, Michael Jemal has an eye for brands and their potential, and expertise in their development. Beginning with these core brands, Jemal established W Appliance in 2012, the first branch of what would soon become Equity Brands with the addition of Concept 101 and Got Snacks LLC. He remains focused on expanding his platform and portfolio of products to further the company’s consumer products business. Widely recognized for his business acumen, Jemal has been invited to speak at a number of prestigious educational institutions including Harvard University, The Wharton School of Business, the University of Minnesota, The University of Indiana’s Kelly Business School, and Columbia University.


Richard Block

Chief Marketing Officer/SVP brand management

Richard Block came to Equity Brands in early 2014, bringing with him over thirty years of consumer awareness, sales, and marketing experience. He directs all of Marketing and Licensor Relations for the company including the Art Department, all packaging, promotions and copywriting, as well as public relations, media placement and trade show initiatives. Richard previously served as VP of Branding and Creative at Haier America during Michael Jemal’s tenure as CEO and Chairman. There he led all Marketing and PR initiatives as well as product promotions through a multitude of platforms, and directed the company’s relationship with the National Basketball Association. Among other accomplishments he tripled unaided awareness from 7% to 21% (based on NBA research) and developed the Packaging and PR departments. He upgraded the tradeshow program and spearheaded two build-outs and re-launches of the company web site, and dozens of online product demonstrations and television spots. He also accelerated the company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, including a partnership with the National Parks Conservation Association.


David Elfman

Senior Vice President Sales

When David Elfman began his career, he immediately excelled in customer relations, forecasting, budgeting, and perpetuating annual sales growth. With all his tools of the trade in order, David joined the Welbilt Company as National Sales Manager in 1996 and began his working relationship with then Executive Vice President Michael Jemal. David traveled the US cultivating relationships with and selling to key accounts: Best Buy, Target, Costco, Wal-Mart, Sears, and Montgomery Ward. By the time Michael Jemal began his new venture, Haier America, David was ready and willing to join him. For ten years David was Michael’s go-to guy in generating sales and forming a first class sales organization. He rose to the number three position in the company as SVP of Sales and Channel Management. When he wasn’t motivating his sales team or out in the field with customers, David was busy acting as the key liaison with the Black and Decker Licensing team. He didn’t hesitate when in May of 2013 Michael Jemal asked him to join his team once again and lead the sales efforts at W Appliance and Concept 101.


Pankaj Paleja

Vice President Product Development

Pankaj joined W Appliance in January 2013 as the Vice President of Product Development. In addition to building a strong team of achievers in sales and marketing, he is responsible for developing a full product line across all small and compact appliance categories. His career in consumer electronics began in retail at Tops Appliance City and The Wiz. He joined Haier America as a Product Manager in September of 2000, as the company was just coming into being through the leadership of Michael Jemal. In this switch over from retail to manufacturing he worked on product planning, market research, pricing, margin analysis and competitive positioning. He embodied a number of roles in his ten plus years at Haier, including Director of Product Management, General Manager of Sales and Marketing, Laundry, and finally, director of Sales.  His relationship management skills constantly came into play as he maintained an effective working relationship between the US and China product teams. Now at W Appliance he continues to manage and build strong cross-national relationships, liaising with our factories to source products. 


Karl Lassig

VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS

An expert in multi-functional business optimization, Karl comes to W Appliance with over 25 years of experience helping companies meet and exceed operational excellence and customer expectations. Most recently, he served as Vice President of Operations and Information Technologies at PRC Industries, a leader in remanufacturing, reverse logistics and engineering services for consumer product manufacturers. Prior to PRC, Karl held senior roles in Operations at Global Warranty Group LLC, Haier America, and Signal Holdings, among others, spearheading business and operational transformations that resulted in material performance improvements. In his role at W Appliances, Karl will use his proven foresight and knowledge of the logistics and manufacturing industries to create a better customer service experience and accountability within the organization, and to raise the overall level of integration and operational excellence.


Liu Wei

Senior Vice President, Global sourcing, quality assurance, asia sales

Liu Wei brings to Equity Brands his skill in product sourcing, planning, presentation, and marketing for white goods, consumer electronic products, and home comfort appliances. Over the course of a seventeen-year career with Haier Group, including eight years with Haier America and the Haier overseas factory, Liu Wei developed his expertise in new business creation and business restructuring and development in various roles. In virtually every position he held within Haier Group, Liu Wei acted as a bridge, supporting and coordinating communications between the New York office and headquarters in China. At the inception of Haier America, it was Liu Wei who organized a team to work with Haier America accounts, source products from different factories within and outside of Haier, oversee production, and ensure on-time delivery and after-sale service. Liu Wei now uses his experience with cross-cultural relationship management to direct the overseas operations of W Appliance and Concept 101 from our office in China.


Clifton Brown

Vice President of finance

Clifton Brown is a senior level accounting professional with expertise in project management and mid-size company account management. His background includes Financial Reporting management, service level improvement, strategic planning and teambuilding. 

Clifton joins W. Appliance as a VP of Finance with more than 15 years’ experience in Accounting and Finance. Clifton graduated from the Baruch College (Zicklin School of Business) with, a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from St. Joseph College in Brooklyn, NY where he majored in Accounting and Finance. 

Prior to joining W. Appliance, Clifton spent four years at Haier America Trading, one year as Controller, and two years at Wilkhahn Inc. as Finance Manager.