Canadian Report Lists Canopy Growth At The Top Of Highest Paid CEO's

The Canadian Center For Policy Alternatives recently released a report titled “Another Year In Paradise – CEO Pay in 2020. The report lists a couple of cannabis company CEOs with what it determined to be outsized compensation packages. The report stated, “Canada’s 100 highest-paid CEOs got paid an average of $10.9 million in 2020, which is higher than their pay in 2019. As a result, those 100 CEOs now make, on average, 191 times more than the average worker wage in Canada.” The report also stated that variable compensation, which can be bonuses, company stock, or options rose from roughly 70% a decade ago to over 80% in the past two years. Now it seems salaries have become a less important part of CEOs’ total compensation.

The report also delved into the support many businesses received during the pandemic. It pointed out that substantial government support flowed to companies headed by some of the highest-paid CEOs in the country. 

Leading the list on the report was David Klein, CEO of Canopy Growth Corp (NASDAQ: CGC) who is listed as having a salary of C$281,715 share-based awards of C$10,075,349, option-based awards of C$33,267,017, non-equity incentive compensation of C$408,739, other compensation listed as 1,273,265 for a grand total of C$45,306,085. 

Ranking at 18 on the list Kurt Schmidt, President & CEO of  Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) having a salary of C$195,859 share-based awards of C$3,187,404 option-based awards of C$9,859,488 non-equity incentive compensation C$326,811 for a total of C$13,569,562. 

Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY)  wasn’t listed in the report, but CEO Irwin Simon has a base salary of $1.7 million according to the company’s filings. In addition, the Tilray Compensation Committee in July 2021 awarded Mr. Simon a one-time cash retention bonus of $10 million. Mr. Simon was granted 392,772 PSUs which are performance-restricted stock units. On July 27, 2021, Simon received a one-time equity grant having an aggregate value equal to $15 million. For the fiscal year 2021, the Compensation Committee determined Mr. Simon’s cash bonus to be $3,185,000, which was paid to him on August 15, 2021. This easily puts him ahead of Schmidt on the list. Tilray said the CEO ratio of pay to the average employee is 13 to 1. 

So while Simon’s total compensation may be lower than Klein’s, the inclusion of those one-time bonuses and the generous regular salary might be more lucrative.

Cannabis C-Suite

In May 2021, the CannaBiz Team released a report that stated C-suite executives in the cannabis business saw double-digit salary increases in 2021 compared with 2020. The report determined that a cannabis company’s chief executive officer’s salary rose to a median of $350,300 in 2021, up 11% from a median of $314,450 in 2020. For a chief financial officer, the median salary climbed 10% to $348,500 from $318,000 in 2020. MJ Biz looked at U.S. cannabis company CEO pay in July 2021 and found that Cresco CEO Charlie Bachtell was the highest-paid CEO of an American MSO with 2020 compensation valued at $4.5 million. Bachtell was paid a salary of $450,000 and was paid a bonus of $87,500, according to a regulatory filing. Looks relatively meager by comparison to his Canadian counterparts. 

Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the Co-Founder, and Executive Editor of GMR. She has covered the cannabis industry for several years at Forbes, Seeking Alpha and TheStreet. Prior to becoming a financial journalist, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she held a Series 7 and Registered Investment Advisor license. Debra has a Master's degree in Business Journalism from New York University.

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