MMJ chief quits after a year on the job
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
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MMJ held on to its latest CEO for almost exactly one year.
Jason Conroy, brought in to steady the ship and lead the company away from pot sales and into investing, has quit, effective March 1.
He joined on February 26, 2018.
With a background in corporate finance and deal making, Mr Conroy was brought in to clean house after years of weird deals.
He’s got the company out of its awkward investment in eSense Labs (ASX:ESE) — he says he can’t comment on why they did the deal in the first place — and got Israel-based R&D arm Phytotech off their books and into investee Harvest One.
He has to deal with the fact that MMJ’s most successful investment is Harvest One, which is complicated because it’s listed in Canada, and their stake has fallen from 59 per cent to 30 per cent after the latter raised $C35 million in January 2018.
He also managed to sell off the Israel-based research arm Phytotech to Harvest One for $C8m.
But while Mr Conroy appeared to have a mandate for change, the board retained key figures from the IPO in 2015 during the last 12 months with one new addition in Doug Halley. A Canadian banker also became a director in early January.
Booting the cowboys
Mr Conroy told Stockhead in July he wanted to professionalise the business, “clean up the story”, and attract institutional money.
“Less characters, more professional operators, because ultimately what I want to do with our share registry is institutionalise it,” he said.
The company has no substantial shareholders who own more than 5 per cent of the stock, and didn’t manage to attract any over the last 12 months.
Mr Conroy did have one achievement: he wanted to MMJ to make many small investments across the cannabis sector, from retail and recreational through to heavy duty research, and become a global venture capital fund.
The company has 10 investments, mostly in Canada and seven of which were done between April and July last year.
Knifed by the share price?
MMJ gained shareholder approval for its reincarnation as a venture investor last year and was suspended for a month while it re-complied with listing rules.
However, its rebirth was marred by the ASX re-listing the stock a day before it was supposed to be back on the bourse.
It immediately dropped 30 per cent before the ASX realised its mistake.
The stock has been sliding all year and at 23c on Monday morning, is almost half of its 52-week peak of 49c.