Within the last year, at least four provincial regulators or retailers have lost or gotten rid of the person in the CEO position, leaving interim leaders just holding down the fort until someone else wanted to take over. Three out of four have been filled recently, with new leaders being appointed at Cannabis NB, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), and the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), leaving the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC) as the only one still searching for leadership.
Late last year, Cannabis NB president and CEO Patrick Parent stepped down, just after it was decided that Cannabis NB would remain a public entity. In the meantime, Lori Stickles had been appointed interim CEO and president, however, in early September, Stickles stepped into the role fully as president and CEO of Alcool New Brunswick Liquor (ANBL) and Cannabis NB.
According to a news release from Cannabis NB, Stickles, who joined the organization in 2018 as vice president and CFO, is, “a trusted business advisor who fosters corporate improvement, organizational change, and positive workplace culture through a personable and collaborative leadership style. Lori was also very instrumental in the success of Cannabis NB last year.”
Over the nine months that she was interim CEO, Stickles has steered the Cannabis NB ship to even more profitability, and hopes to see sales increase even more as new products hit the market.
Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis
In November 2020, an order from council rescinded then-CEO Alain Maisonneuve from his position. There was no reason given at the time, however, it was recommended by the Finance Minister. Like Cannabis NB, AGLC’s Chief Financial Officer, Kandice Machado was appointed interim CEO of the organization but has recently been permanently instated to a five-year term as President and CEO.
Travis Toews, President of the Treasury Board and Finance Minister of Alberta, says that Machado is highly capable and experienced, and he is confident in her expertise to manage the gaming, liquor and cannabis sectors. She has, after all, been doing this specific job for the last 10 months or so, but has been with the AGLC for the last 19 years, where she held a variety of senior roles.
“I am very proud of the work AGLC and its employees are doing to modernize our processes, reduce red tape and provide a regulatory environment that gives Albertans choices they can trust,” she says. “I’m excited to take on this role and to continue collaborating with stakeholders, to grow our industries and contribute to Alberta’s economic recovery.”
Société québécoise du cannabis
In May, then-CEO Jean-François Bergeron left the organization to take a job at Loto-Quebec, and Paul Furfaro was appointed interim CEO of the regulator and sole retailer of cannabis in the province. In September, however, the Board of Directors of the SQDC appointed Jacques Farcy as President and CEO, who has over 30 years of experience in strategic management positions in both Canada and France. Before being appointed CEO of the SQDC, Farcy was Vice President of Sales Network Operations for the province’s alcohol regulator.
This leaves only the OCRC without a permanent President and CEO. Ontario’s cannabis retail organization has had four leaders since legalization, and two of them have been interim. In March, Thomas Haig, then interim President and CEO, left the position because his contract had finished. In the meantime, David Lobo is filling in as an interim leader, however, despite a national search started in March, no one has been officially appointed.