Aphria CEO Vic Neufeld to step down, as company posts quarterly earnings

Aphria CEO Vic Neufeld to step down, as company posts quarterly earnings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Now with legalization and globalization, including a huge market opportunity with positive developments in the U.S., Aphria’s next generation of leadership may take the reins,” Neufeld said in a release.

“Building and leading a Company like Aphria, which exploded from an idea in late 2013 to our many successes to-date, has been an incredible journey, despite the toll it has taken on health, family and personal priorities.”

The moves come as the company released quarterly results that failed to meet analyst expectations.

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



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