Creso Pharma (ASX: CPH) emerged from an eventful 2021 as a standout ASX cannabis player two global suitors – eager to acquire the company and its intellectual property (IP) - didn’t quite manage to snag.
Having concluded neither of these bids were the right for the company’s IP, M&A considerations are no longer dominating the company’s attention. As a result, chairman Dr James Ellingford has seized the long-awaited opportunity to enter 2022 with a formidable upgrade to the company’s leadership line-up.
Ellingford believes there’s no better endorsement of Creso’s IP and strategic direction than the company’s ability to attract to its leadership team three proven performers with truly world class experience.
“As a small-cap in the global cannabis sector, Creso has through these latest appointments proven the company’s ability to punch well above its weight,” says Ellingford.
“The company’s ability to attract William Lay as Group CEO and Managing Director; Bruce Linton as Non-Executive Director; and Micheline MacKay as Executive Director is tantamount to Fortescue’s founder Dr Andrew Forrest joining a junior iron ore company.”
Ellingford expects the three latest additions to the company’s board and management team to considerably strengthen Creso Pharma’s North American market presence ahead of a potential NASDAQ listing.
William Lay: Previously Executive Vice President – Strategy, Origination & Operations at Creso Pharma, Lay has an extensive track record in the cannabis sector and was previously Associate Director of M&A of Canopy Growth Corporation.
Together with Bruce Linton, Lay assessed, oversaw, and executed over CAD$5bn in cannabis transactions and led the industry’s largest acquisition to date.
Over the last four years, Lay has managed and supported over CAD$5bn in cannabis M&A transactions, including leading the largest acquisition in the history of the cannabis sector.
As well as progressing the company’s North American focused growth strategy, and Creso Pharma’s proposed NASDAQ dual listing, Lay will also oversee the company’s global operations, including Creso Pharma’s Swiss division and potential new market entries.
Commenting on his new appointment Lay noted:
“I look forward to working with our strong existing teams to help drive this growth.
Other key objectives include working alongside Bruce to seek out and execute accretive transactions that further supplement our business units, developing a growth-oriented culture, implementing policies and procedures to further enhance corporate governance, and aggressively reducing corporate G&A where possible.”
Bruce Linton: Ellingford cites the experience of leading cannabis and psychedelics entrepreneur Bruce Linton.
Linton has been appointed as a Non-Executive Director in addition to his ongoing role as a strategic consultant for the Company (since 7 October 2020).
He is one of the world’s leading cannabis executives, an accomplished entrepreneur and has extensive sector experience as a founder, CEO, Board member and advisor to numerous global cannabis and psychedelic focused companies.
As Director of leading psychedelic company, Mind Medicine Inc, Linton was instrumental growing the company’s market cap from CAD$75m late 2020 to over CAD$1.5bn in May 2021.
Linton also led Ontario-based Canopy Growth Corporation from a start up to the first cannabis producer on the NYSE – with market cap peaking US$15bn during his tenure.
Commenting on his new appointment Linton noted.
“I have known and thought highly of Creso’s products for several years now. I began formally advising the company less than a year ago, seeking to assist in global adoption of these products.
This next step is intended to accelerate mergers and acquisitions that allow for this objective to take place.
While it is no secret that I generally prefer not to take board roles, and actively turn them down on a regular basis, I am accepting this assignment due to the leadership of the company, and the scope of the opportunity.”
Micheline MacKay: Currently Mernova’s Corporate Manager, MacKay has 22 years’ experience in regulatory environments including pharmaceuticals, medical devices and government regulated industries.
Having held leadership positions for many years in different areas, MacKay has an extensive track record of business improvements and product development from laboratory scale to commercial operations.
MacKay is remunerated as an employee of Mernova and will not receive any additional remuneration for her role as a director of Creso.
Commenting on recent appointments Ellingford noted:
“Pleasingly, both Will and Bruce have an existing, symbiotic relationship from their time working at Canopy Growth and bring extensive industry experience to our Board.
Micheline also has an extensive knowledge of our Mernova subsidiary and has been instrumental in scaling its operations to a solid revenue generator for the Company.
Importantly, Will, Bruce and Micheline are based in North America. This provides a key advantage for Creso Pharma as we continue to build a strong footprint in the region.”
Creso Pharma three month share price performance versus the All Technology Index
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