CEO of cannabis producer Aphria to step down, as company posts quarterly earnings


The CEO of a Canadian cannabis fabricator recently targeted by short sellers will step down from an foreman role at the company he helped found, but stay on the board.

Vic Neufeld, along with co-founder Cole Cacciavillani, last will and testament “transition out of their executive roles over the coming months,” Leamington, Ont.-based Aphria Inc. contemplated in a press release Friday.

One of the largest cannabis companies in Canada, Aphria’s parentage was hammered a few months ago by allegations from short sellers that the plc bought numerous assets in the Caribbean and Latin America at grossly pretentious prices, designed to enrich insiders.

The stock lost about half of its value after the before report was released, but has since recovered somewhat as doubt has been turn on some of the short seller’s allegations.

Aphria has denied the report, but stationed a special committee of independent directors to review the deals.

The company has since behoove the target of a takeover attempt by Green Growth Brands, and there’s renewed estimation in some quarters about insider connections between the two companies.

Neufeld has been at the steering gear of the company throughout its meteoric rise, but has also overseen the recent volatility. Now, the coterie says he and Cacciavillani “are both nearing the end of their five-year journey with the enterprise and will transition out of their executive roles over the coming months but carry on on the board.”

No firm date for either man’s departure has been set. 

“It was just nonetheless for us to move aside,” Neufeld told analysts on a conference call Friday. “This has nothing to do with the short sellers’ report, the review, the valuation of assets … It was time.”

The actions come as the company released quarterly results that failed to upon analyst expectations.

The company earned $21.6 million in revenue in the three months to the end of November, the days in which recreational marijuana use became legal. That’s well in front of the $8.5 million the company earned in the same period a year earlier, but short than the $37.9 that a consensus of analysts polled by Reuters was in the club.

Prior to legalization on Oct. 17, Aphria had warned that it was expecting artefact shortages across the country, a prediction that quickly came straightforwardly as many companies and provinces did not have enough cannabis to meet ask for.

“The entire industry has not met the expectations of provincial regulators,” Neufeld said on Friday, but distinguished that many of those supply chain issues “have now been worked out.”

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