Cannabis Career Watch | New Hires and Promotions March 27, 2020

Leafly enacts mass layoff; Burns & Levinson onboard new partner; Harvest One, Elixinol, Green Growth Brands, Auxly make executive changes; BioELife, Goldenseed, Cornbread Hemp, OrgHarvest, Meta Growth make changes to board; NCRMA creates new position; Acreage, Vireo Health announce resignations.

Image: Rido /

Peter Horvath stepped down from his role as chief executive officer and as a member of the board of directors at Green Growth Brands, positions which he’d held since January 2019 and July 2018, respectively. GGB’s Chief Operating Officer Randy Whitaker will take over as interim CEO.

“On behalf of the board and everyone at GGB, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to Peter for his significant contribution and dedication to the company,” said Carli Posner, GGB’s chair of the board. “We wish Peter the best for his future endeavors.”


“I am humbled to have worked with such amazing professionals along this journey,” said Horvath. “Among those individuals is Randy Whitaker, whom I am pleased has been named as interim CEO. The company will be in good hands with such a seasoned operator at the helm, and I have full confidence in Randy to lead the company during this difficult time.”

Cannabis platform Leafly laid off ninety-one employees on Monday, attributing the layoffs to the coronavirus pandemic. Employees were offered one week of severance pay.

“We’re heartbroken to have to let so many talented people go in such an uncertain time,” said Leafly Chief Executive Officer Tim Leslie in a statement to GeekWire. “Although Leafly continues to grow and rapidly deploy pickup and delivery services for retailers and brands across North America, COVID-19 has rocked global financial markets and put further capital investments we were expecting on pause.”

Katrina Skinner joined Burns & Levinson as a partner in the firm’s cannabis business and law advisory group. Skinner previously served as president and general counsel for Safe Harbor Services.

“We are thrilled to have Katrina join our world-class corporate cannabis team,” said Burns & Levinson Partner Frank A. Segall. “She is joining one of our busiest practice groups, and her experience helping covered financial institutions, such as banks, credit unions, merchant processors, and money transmitters throughout the country navigate the challenges and opportunities inherent in servicing the cannabis industry will be of great benefit to our clients.”

Kentucky-based Cornbread Hemp added Dr. Leslie Mudd to its board of advisors. Mudd previously served as a board-certified oncology pharmacist for the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and as a senior medical science liaison at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

“We are thrilled to add Dr. Mudd to our Board of Advisors,” said Cornbread Hemp Co-founder Jim Higdon. “Her significant work in the field of cancer research and oncology pharmacy gives us much-needed experience as we prepare to abide by upcoming FDA regulations.”

Amy Langer resigned from the board of directors at Vireo Health International to pursue other endeavors.

“We are grateful to Amy for her contributions as a board member,” said Vireo Health Founder and Chief Executive Officer Kyle Kingsley, M.D. “Amy helped guide us through a time of fast-paced expansion and growth. We thank her for those efforts and wish her the best on all future endeavors.”

OrgHarvest appointed Paul Schlosberg to its board of directors. Schlosberg currently serves as managing partner at COAL I LLC, on the board of directors of HOBI International, as outside operating partner at Satori Capital, on the investment committee at Seraph Partners, as strategic advisor for Capstone Holdings, and as strategic advisor for DeliverFund.

“We are pleased to welcome Paul as a director to the OrgHarvest board and look forward to his contributions,” said J. Larry Cantrell, president and chief executive officer at OrgHarvest. “Paul is a respected business leader in global financial circles as well as here in Dallas. He understands our business objectives and the changing regulatory environment in which to achieve those objectives.”

Jeff Tung resigned from the position of chief operations officer at Auxly Cannabis Group. Alan Cooke has joined the company as vice president of domestic and international supply chain and operations.

“Auxly’s management team is committed to the long-term success of the company and feel more confident than ever in executing on our growth strategy with Alan bringing his extensive experience to our operations team,” said Auxly Chief Executive Officer Hugo Alves. “Jeff’s departure comes after a successful transition of operational oversight to Alan. We are extremely fortunate to have had Jeff as part of the Auxly family from the beginning; he was instrumental in building the Company to where it is today and we wish him all the best as he goes on to pursue his other passions.”

Shark Tank investor Kevin Harrington joined the advisory board at Goldenseed.

“We’re honored to have Kevin join our growing family of investors and advisors,” said co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Scott Goldie. “His extensive experience in supporting entrepreneurs and bringing retail products to market on a national and global scale are great assets to add to our team as we look to expand our footprint in the high-growth hemp/CBD industry.”

Elixinol named Tom Siciliano to the position of chief executive officer Americas, where he will lead the company’s refined strategy on hemp-derived CBD in the Americas region. Most recently, Siciliano served as president for Nutritional High International Inc. Prior to that, he was president and chief financial officer for Canna Security America.

“We are delighted to appoint a leader with Tom’s strategic, financial, operational, and sales experience,” said Elixinol Chief Executive Officer Stratos Karousos. “Elixinol, like the rest of the world, is currently navigating uncertain times. We are confident in Tom’s leadership and ability to drive growth, including through our rebranded health and wellness products, while also helping to execute on our commitment to provide shareholders a return on investment.”

Meta Growth appointed Christopher Brawn as an independent director and as a member of the company’s audit committee. Brawn replaces resigning board member Rocco Meliambro.

“We are very excited to have Chris join our board at this important stage as META prepares to expand into the Ontario market,” said Meta Growth Chief Executive Officer Mark Goliger. “As a retailer, accumulating a strategic real estate portfolio is one of our key success factors. Having spent fifteen years at Dollarama, a leading retailer with over 1,000 stores in Canada, Chris brings a wealth of knowledge in both real estate and retail. His insights, relationships, and experience will be invaluable as we embark on our growth phase.”

Harvest One Cannabis announced several changes: Grant Froese resigned from the position of chief executive officer and from the board of directors. Andy Bayfield, currently chief commercial officer, was appointed interim chief executive officer. Frank Holler, currently chairman of the board of directors, was appointed to the position of executive chairman.

“We have full confidence in Andy Bayfield to lead the Company forward with its strategic plan,” said Holler. “Andy’s extensive experience and strong capabilities in the consumer packaged goods sector will serve Harvest One well in the execution of its strategic plan.”

National Cannabis Risk Management Association (NCRMA) appointed Alex Hearding as its first chief risk management officer. Hearding’s role will include the introduction of a cannabis risk protection model and the development of a suite of educational materials. He brings more than ten years of cannabusiness experience including license application, operational development, facility design, policy and procedure development, occupational safety and health services, training, and risk management.

“Our appointed brokers and members have pointed out the need to organize and provide a focal point for access and advice,” said NCRMA Chairman Rocco Petrilli. “Alex provides this entrée point and promises much more in the area of disruptively innovative risk management products and services.”

Larissa Herda resigned from Acreage Holdings’ board of directors.

“We thank Larissa for her tremendous service to Acreage and wish her every success in the future,” said Acreage Chief Executive Officer Kevin Murphy. “Her leadership and guidance have been invaluable to us as we have grown as a company since she joined our board in November 2018.”

William (Bill) Marciniak joined BioELife Corp’s advisory board of external experts. He brings to the company over thirty-five years of pharmaceutical and manufacturing experience.

“We are very excited that Mr. Marciniak has committed to work with BioELife to help grow our business,” said BioELife President Gregory Rotelli. “His experience will be fundamental in helping BioELife rapidly deploy solutions that are effective and help individuals defend themselves during this pandemic crisis. In addition, Mr. Marciniak will assist the company in expanding its manufacturing, sourcing, and strategic partnerships.”

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