Cannabis Career Watch | New Hires and Promotions June 19, 2020

RYTE, HempMeds, 1933 make executive changes; Cresco, MedMen, Cannapreneur, Kannalife, BRNT, Khiron make changes to board; Vireo, PLUS announce departures; Kadenwood taps celebrity ambassador; Benzinga adds to advisory council.

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Kevin Harrington, an original “shark” on ABC’s Shark Tank and creator of the As Seen on TV brand infomercial, has joined Cannapreneur Partners as strategic advisor and brand ambassador.

“We’re thrilled to have one of the most successful entrepreneurs, who has a track-record of excellence that spans forty years, bring his expertise to our firm and portfolio companies,” said Michael Scott, co-chief executive officer at Cannapreneur Partners. “We are confident that Kevin’s role as a strategic advisor and brand ambassador, along with his hands-on experience running companies at every stage of growth, will only accelerate our growth and successes.”


Seven months after multistate operator Vireo Health International named Bruce Linton executive chairman, the company unexpectedly terminated the relationship “on an entirely without-cause basis, effective immediately.” At this time, Vireo does not expect to fill the vacated role.

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Bruce Linton

“We wish Bruce well in his future endeavors,” said Vireo founder and Chief Executive Officer Kyle Kingsley, M.D. “Our organization will remain focused on executing a strategy which benefits all stakeholders and developing our core medical markets of Arizona, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, and Pennsylvania.”

Linton co-founded Canopy Growth in 2013. The company fired him in 2019 after Constellation Brands acquired majority interest and Canopy’s earnings disappointed. Vireo’s stock value plunged 34 percent during the first five months of 2020.

MedMen Enterprises co-founders Adam Bierman and Andrew Modlin stepped down from their positions with the company’s board of directors. The pair had resigned from their executive roles at MedMen in January of this year.

Publicly traded cannabis company Medical Marijuana, Inc. appointed Terrence O. Tormey to the board of directors at its subsidiary Kannalife andhired Vince DiMella to the role of U.S. director of sales and marketing for subsidiary HempMeds.

“It’s an honor to have Terry join our advisory board because his experience, vision and knowledge in the life sciences industry will help us start to design our commercialization and distribution plan for Atopidine,” said Dean Petkanas, chief executive officer for Kannalife.

“HempMeds has created a unique brand that pioneered markets and has changed the global dialogue about cannabis and particularly its non-psychoactive CBD forms,” said Medical Marijuana Inc. Chief Executive Officer Dr. Stuart Titus. “Having met personally and discussed branding with Vince, I am delighted that he will be leading our team with skill and pedigree to navigate HempMeds’ major market arenas.”

Plus Products Chief Financial Officer Jon Paul will be replaced upon his retirement at the end of June by current Vice President of Finance Nate Pearson. Prior to joining PLUS, Pearson served as a senior financial analyst at Tesla Motors and as the director of financial planning and analysis at Lagunitas.

“Jon has played an integral role in our organization since the day he joined,” said PLUS co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jake Heimark. “The financial and regulatory environments in our industry remain extraordinarily complex, and Jon has built the infrastructure and relationships that we believe will enable PLUS to succeed for years to come. It has been a pleasure to work with him for the past few years, and I am grateful he will continue working closely with the company moving forward.”

Multistate operator Cresco Labs welcomed Michele Roberts to its board of directors. Roberts currently serves as executive director for the National Basketball Players Association. Prior to joining the NBPA, she was a trial lawyer with the firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Michele Roberts

“Ms. Roberts is an outstanding addition to our board,” said Cresco Labs Executive Chairman Tom Manning. “Drawing on her experience in leading one of the most important player organizations in the sports world and her expertise in law and litigation as a highly-accomplished trial attorney and educator, Michele will provide a unique perspective at a critical time of continued growth and expansion in the industry.”

We are advocates of a more diverse and inclusive cannabis industry, and we are thrilled to have Michele’s counsel, experience, and leadership to help influence the development of both our company and this industry,” added Cresco co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Charlie Bachtell. “We believe her contributions will be invaluable to Cresco.”

Colorado-based hemp company RYTE added Chief Commercial Officer Eric White and Chief Quality Officer Stefanie Gilbreth to its executive staff. White joins the company from Balanced Health Botanicals, parent company to the CBDistillery; Gilbreth joins from Kite Hill and Danone North America.

“RYTE’s relentless commitment to quality is the cornerstone of our identity and our success,” said RYTE President Andrew Wolcott. “Eric and Stefanie bring a shared value of product purity that reinforces our company culture while adding vital skills that enable expansion without sacrificing our guiding principles.”

Canadian cannabis design house BRNT Group added Joe Fresh and Club Monaco Founder Joe Mimran to its advisory board. Mimran has made various investments in the North American cannabis industry including his High Park Investment fund and sits on Canopy Rivers’ board as an independent director.

“[Joe Mimran] is one of the few recognizable figures in Canada that was able to redefine retail experiences in their given settings,” said BRNT Group Chief Executive Officer Simon Grigenas. “Introducing apparel in a non-traditional retail format like a grocery store through Joe Fresh pushed many boundaries. With us navigating an uncertain industry like cannabis, I’m looking forward to leaning on his expertise for our brands, enabling us to thrive within retail, and continue to serve our customers with products and ideas that energize them.”

Consumer seed-to-shelf CBD company Kadenwood introduced PGA Tour Pro Golfer Rickie Fowler as its newest brand ambassador. Fowler will be featured in the promotional campaign for LEVEL SELECT, Kadenwood’s line of performance-based CBD products.

“Rickie has made a tremendous impact on the world of professional golf and the broader golfing community,” said Erick Dickens, co-founder and chief executive officer for Kadenwood. “Rickie is the perfect partner for our brand and a great addition to our team of exceptional athletes who exemplify the versatility of our products. We look forward to seeing the LEVEL SELECT logo out on the course with Rickie as he champions the message of quality, performance-based CBD both on tour and in our national advertising campaigns.”

Financial news and data company Benzinga added five new members to its cannabis advisory council: NBA champion and Deuces22 co-founder John Salley, Mendi Chief Executive Officer Rachael Rapinoe, Pineapple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Shawn Credle, Columbia Care co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Vita, and Avicanna President Lucas Nosiglia.

“The latest additions to our advisory council bring even more diversity and industry experience to an already impressive lineup,” said Benzinga Cannabis Managing Director Javier Hasse. “With more than twenty-five cannabis experts on board, the council has become an influential institution in the cannabis space. We look forward to continuing to build up this initiative, building bridges among people, and incentivizing collaboration.”

Cannabis CPG company 1933 Industries announced executive changes. Chief Executive Officer Chris Rebentisch has been replaced by interim CEO Paul Rosen andPresident Ester Vigil has been replaced by Eugene Ruiz.

“The appointments of these two accomplished business leaders are reflective of the company’s accelerated focus on execution,” said 1933’s Chairman of the Board Terry Taouss. “Paul’s exceptional background in the cannabis industry in both the U.S. and Canada is unmatched. Eugene has extensive executive leadership experience and a proven track record of leading companies to profitability. We are pleased to welcome Paul and Eugene as we advance towards our goal of becoming a leading player in the cannabis space.”

Canopy Growth Chief Financial Officer Mike Lee joined the board of directors at Canopy Rivers. Lee’s previous experience includes positions with E. & J. Gallo Winery, PepsiCo, and Constellation Brands, where he served as senior vice president and chief financial officer.

“Mike’s addition to our board is another sign of our strong and growing relationship with Canopy Growth and Constellation Brands,” said John Bell, chair of Canopy Rivers’ board. “We expect that this will benefit both of our companies, as well as our portfolio companies, as we exchange industry insights and further leverage the guidance and expertise of the largest cannabis company in the world.”

Chris Naprawa will transition from his role as president at Khiron Life Sciences to director and chairman of the board following the resignation of Michael Beck.

“I congratulate Chris on this appointment which comes at a dynamic time for the company,” said Khiron co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Alvaro Torres. “In his role as president, Chris has played an integral part in [Khiron’s international growth and] developments and in increasing investor understanding of our business. As chairman, Chris will provide tremendous support and guidance to ensure our focus on a continued and sustainable global growth.”

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