Canopy Growth announced the leadership change in a press release that suggested the split was somewhat amicable, writing that “Bruce will step down” from his post as co-CEO and a Canopy Board Member. But in an interview with CNBC, Linton said, “I think stepping down might not be the right phrase. I was terminated.”
While Canopy recently struck a huge deal to purchase the U.S. weed firm Acreage Holdings on the condition that marijuana is federally decriminalized in America, Linton’s reported ouster comes one month after Canopy reported hefty losses and dwindling weed sales in Canada. The downturn reportedly irked the alcoholic beverage giant Constellation Brands, which purchased a 38 percent stake in Canopy, plus four of its seven board seats, last summer with a $4 billion investment.
In a letter to investors, an analyst for the banking company Cowen said, “The magnitude of losses for [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.”
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Linton admitted he had a feeling he might be fired when a meeting of the board of directors was called and he — as chairman — had not called it. “I really think at the end of the day, sometimes entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs because they’re not super employable,” he said. “And I would say I probably don’t have a resume because I like creating businesses and driving them. You don’t always mesh well with everyone in the playpen. I think probably what they’re doing will probably be a better decision, it’s just not a great day for Bruce.” Canopy Growth did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
With Linton gone, his co-CEO Mark Zekulin will become sole CEO of Canopy, while Rade Kovacevic — who has handled Canopy’s Canadian operations recreational strategy — will become president. Canopy will also start looking to hire a new leader “to guide the company in its next phase of growth,” according to the press release.