Troubled cannabis cultivation company THC Global (ASX:THC) has removed its highly compensated chief executive, effective immediately, and embarked on a strategic and operational review of its business.

The company didn’t disclose a reason for standing down Ken Charteris, its CEO since July 2018, but THC has been struggling.

On Monday it reported a $5.6m loss for the six months to June 30, down 3 per cent from a year ago, on $3.5m in revenue.

It did have $9m in cash after taking on a $4m debt facility against its Southport cannabis manufacturing facility in Queensland in April and completing a $6.6m institutional placement at 30c a share in June.

Since then its stock has slid further and was trading around 21c on Wednesday morning.


Charteris will be replaced on an interim basis by chief financial officer Jarrod White, with the head of corporate M&A, Sonny Digudu, taking on the new role of group chief operating officer.

White didn’t immediately respond to an email, nor did Charteris respond immediately to a message on Linkedin.

“The company will not remunerate Mr White nor Mr Didugu further for their new responsibilities at this time, noting they are currently engaged in senior roles,” THC Global said.

White made $197,983 in total compensation last year, while Charteris made $679,450, consisting of $394,235 in salary and fees and $285,215 in share-based payments, according to THC’s annual report for the year ended December 31.

The report didn’t list remuneration for Digudu.

THC said it was “conscious of the need to tighten its capital allocation strategy” and was beginning a strategic review to ensure that into 2021 it was focused on new initiatives “that will drive sustainable revenue growth”.

Earlier this year THC began selling Australian patients its Canndeo branded medical cannabis products and acquired a cannabis telehealth clinic network, Tetra Health.


Mesoblast COVID-19 trial to include Australian hospitals

Elsewhere in the life sciences space on Wednesday, Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) reported it had received ethics approval to include Australian hospitals in a phase-three trial of its stem cell treatment Ryoncil (remestemcel-l) in COVID-19 patients on ventilators.

The trial is investigating whether Ryoncil can treat acute respiratory distress syndrome, a leading cause of death of COVID-19.

A pilot study using Ryoncil to treat a dozen moderate to severe COVID patients at New York’s Mt Sinai Hospital showed promising results, with nine of the patients discharged from hospital within an average of 10 days.

“As an Australian company developing a potential treatment for COVID-19 ARDS, the primary cause of death in patients infected with COVID-19, we have a responsibility to evaluate remestemcel-L in Australian patients as the country continues to grapple with COVID-19,” Mesoblast CEO Dr Silviu Itescu said.

Elsewhere, TBG Diagnostics (ASX:TDL) said the US Food and Drug Administration had approved its rapid test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies under an emergency use authorisation.