Aphria CEO to Step Down Amid Questions About Cannabis Firm’s Deal-Making, Slumping Stock

Article by Marina Strauss and Christina Pellegrini, Globe and Mail

Aphria CEO to step down amid questions about cannabis firm’s deal-making, slumping stock Vic Neufeld is seen at Aphria's greenhouse in Leamington, Ont., in 2014. GEOFF ROBINS

Vic Neufeld will step down as chief executive officer of Aphria Inc., sources say, when the cannabis grower finds a replacement for him, the company is expected to announce on Friday.

Aphria, which has been facing questions about its deal-making and a slumping stock price, is expected to say that it is beginning a search for someone to replace Mr. Neufeld in the top job, which he has held since 2014. The company, one of the largest Canadian marijuana producers, is also set to release its quarterly results on Friday.

The company, based in Leamington, Ont., is hoping to attract a prominent executive with global know-how to step into Mr. Neufeld’s job – and not necessarily someone from the cannabis sector, said a source familiar with the situation. The individual was granted anonymity by The Globe and Mail because the person was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. The company has not set a date for the departure of Mr. Neufeld, who will also step down as a member of Aphria’s board of directors, sources said.

Aphria and Mr. Neufeld didn’t respond Thursday night to requests for comment.

The expected announcement of his departure comes weeks after Aphria was targeted by two short-sellers in a report that criticized the company’s nearly $300-million stock deal to acquire marijuana assets in Colombia, Argentina and Jamaica. The report provided photographs and documents that suggested the assets are not significant and are worth a fraction of that amount.

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