The CEO of a Canadian cannabis producer recently targeted by short sellers will leave the executive position at the company he helped found, but remain on the board.
Vic Neufeld, along with co-founder Cole Cacciavillan, "will leave their executive posts in the coming months," Aphria Inc., based in Leamington, Ontario, said in a press release on Friday.
One of Canada's largest marijuana companies, Aphria's shares were hammered a few months ago by allegations by short sellers that the company bought numerous assets in the Caribbean and Latin America at inflated prices, designed to enrich people from within.
Shares have lost about half of their value after the first report was released but have since rebounded a bit as the doubt has been thrown over some of the claims of the short seller.
Since then, Aphria has become the target of an attempt to acquire Green Growth Brands, and there is new criticism in some sectors about the internal connections between the two companies.
Neufeld has been in charge of the company throughout its meteoric rise, but has also overseen the recent volatility. Now the company says he and Cacciavillan "are nearing the end of their five-year journey with the company and will step down from their executive positions in the coming months, but will remain on the board."
No firm date for the departure of any man was set.
"Now with legalization and globalization, including a huge market opportunity with positive developments in the US, the next generation of Aphria leaders can take over," Neufeld said in a statement.
"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 impact that health, family and personal priorities have brought."
The moves occur when the company releases quarterly results that do not meet the expectations of analysts.
The company earned $ 21.6 million in revenue in the three months to the end of November, a time when recreational use of marijuana became legal. That is well above the $ 8.5 million the company earned in the same period a year earlier, but less than the $ 37.9 that a consensus analysts polled by Reuters had been expecting.