Canopy Growth’s Bruce Lin­ton re­signs as co-CEO and board chair

The Prince George Citizen - - Money - Ar­mina LIGAYA

TORONTO — Canopy Growth Corp. co-chief ex­ec­u­tive Bruce Lin­ton is step­ping down from the cannabis com­pany’s top job and his role as board chair­man, ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately.

The Smiths Falls, Ont.-based cannabis com­pany an­nounced Wed­nes­day that cochief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Zekulin will be­come the sole CEO and will work with the board to be­gin a search to find a new leader to guide the com­pany in its next phase.

Lin­ton, who also stepped down as chair­man and a direc­tor of Canopy Rivers Inc., has been the pub­lic face of the com­pany as it has grown into a leader in the cannabis in­dus­try.

“Cre­at­ing Canopy Growth be­gan with an aban­doned choco­late fac­tory and a vision,” Lin­ton said in a state­ment.

“The board de­cided to­day, and I agreed, my turn is over.”

Lin­ton noted that he had “full con­fi­dence in the team at Canopy.”

Canopy was founded in 2013 and re­cently re­ceived a $5 bil­lion in­vest­ment from Con­stel­la­tion Brands, the mas­sive al­co­hol com­pany whose brands in­clude Corona Beer and Kim Craw­ford Wines.

The an­nounce­ment comes af­ter Canopy last month re­ported a wider-than-ex­pected fourth-quar­ter net loss at­trib­ut­able to share­hold­ers of $335.6 mil­lion or 98 cents per share, de­spite a jump in net rev­enue to $94.1 mil­lion that beat mar­ket es­ti­mates.

In re­port­ing the re­sults, Lin­ton said Canopy in­vested heav­ily dur­ing the quar­ter for longer-term growth, such as boost­ing its production ca­pac­ity and pre­par­ing for the launch of ed­i­bles and other next-generation pot prod­ucts once le­gal later this year.

Con­stel­la­tion Brands, Canopy’s big­gest share­holder, said last week that it was “not pleased” with Canopy’s re­cent year-end re­sults as it recorded a loss in its own fi­nan­cial first quar­ter in con­nec­tion with its stake in the Cana­dian cannabis com­pany.

With Con­stel­la­tion’s vo­cal dis­ap­point­ment with Canopy’s earn­ings, the move is not sur­pris­ing, Cowen an­a­lyst Vivien Azer said Wed­nes­day.

“The mag­ni­tude of losses for WEED (Canopy) has ex­panded far more than we had ex­pected, and while we com­mend Lin­ton for his vision in es­tab­lish­ing the world’s lead­ing cannabis com­pany, we be­lieve new lead­er­ship will be a wel­come change,” she said in a note to clients.

Zekulin said Canopy will never be the same with­out Lin­ton.

“I per­son­ally re­main com­mit­ted to a suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion over the com­ing year as we be­gin a pro­cess to iden­tify new lead­er­ship that will drive our col­lec­tive vision for­ward,” he said in a state­ment.

“I know the com­pany will con­tinue to thrive as the Canopy story con­tin­ues on for years to come.”

As part of the change, Rade Ko­vace­vic, who has been lead­ing the com­pany’s Cana­dian op­er­a­tions and recre­ational strat­egy, was named pres­i­dent.

The board also ap­pointed John Bell to re­place Lin­ton as chair­man. Bell has served on the board as lead direc­tor for five years.


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