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Canopy Growth fires its Co-CEO — and it’s got Corona fingerprints all over it

Friday, July 5, 2019 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

Good thing he's Canadian, or this holiday would be sad... Bruce Linton, co-CEO of the world's largest cannabis company, Canopy Growth, told the world Wednesday that he got fired. Correction: The Company said he “stepped down.” But he was fired. And it looks like liquor legend and Corona-owner Constellation Brands was behind the big move.

Modelo lager. High West whiskey. Robert Mondavi merlot... Now pot. Constellation has already got the bar covered, so in 2018 it expanded beyond alcohol by spending $4B to acquire 37% of Canopy. This was the strategic vision: CBD-infused drinks. Canopy brings the marijuana-know-how, Constellation brings the beverage creation/distribution expertise. Then strategies stopped aligning:

  • Linton: The co-CEO was busy forging A-list partnerships with Martha Stewart and Snoop.
  • Canopy: The cannabis company is focusing on medical marijuana, with plans in 30 countries since the legal situation is easier than recreational.
  • Constellation: The alcohol company wants CBD-infused and profit-making drinks ASAP — but under Linton's leadership of Canopy, that wasn't priority #1.
THE TAKEAWAY

It's all about the Board... The CEO may be boss, but he or she has to answer to the Board of Directors. Canopy has 6 seats on its Board, and 3 are execs at Constellation while a 4th is on Constellation's board, too (the alcohol empire managed to get board control with its $4B investment). Only 2 of Canopy's board members are independent from Constellation. Last week, Constellation's CEO was "not pleased with Canopy’s recent reported year-end results,” and it seems he and his board buddies did something about it.