This story was republished with permission from Crain’s Chicago and written by John Pletz.
Three of four independent board members of Green Thumb Industries (OTC: GTBIF), including Dorri McWhorter, resigned over what the marijuana company said was “a disagreement as to the company’s policies and practices related to personal misconduct.”
In addition to McWhorter, who is CEO of YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, William Gruver, a former Bucknell University professor and Goldman Sachs executive, and Glen Senk, a private equity executive and former CEO of Urban Outfitters; also resigned.
“The resigning directors informed management that their cause for the resignation was not related to Green Thumb’s business performance, operations, financial performance, financial statements or financial controls, but rather over a disagreement as to the company’s policies and practices related to personal misconduct,” the company said in a statement. “It became clear that the former directors and existing management could not find a resolution satisfactory to all parties.”
The company’s stock price dropped about 7% to $9.40 per share on a day when the overall stock market was flat. Chicago-based GTI is one of the largest U.S. marijuana companies and has been a darling of the investment community for disciplined financial performance and an early focus on profitability. But investors famously dislike surprises, and the sudden departure of half of a company’s board was a jolt. Cannabis stocks have been pummeled generally. GTI’s shares are down more than half since the start of the year.
McWhorter, Senk, and Gruver were three of the company’s four independent directors. McWhorter joined GTI’s board in February. Senk joined the board in 2018, and Gruver joined in 2019. None of them responded to requests for comment.
Richard Drexler, a board member at St. Charles-based Bison Gear & Engineering, and Jeff Goldman, an executive with Carol’s Cookies in Northbrook, have joined GTI’s board. They join Wendy Berger, principal at real estate company WBS Equities, as independent directors.
“There comes a time in a company’s evolution that a change in leadership is required, and we regret that there was an impasse with the former board members,” CEO Ben Kovler, one of two company executives on the board, alongside Chief Financial Officer Anthony Georgiadis, said in a statement. “There are massive opportunities in front of us, and we now have a board aligned with management to provide increased shareholder value.”
The trio of departures announced today add to disruption at what has otherwise been a stable company. Two other board members left earlier this year. Wes Moore, who is running for governor in Maryland, left in March. Swati Mylavarapu, a San Francisco venture capitalist, resigned in April, ahead of GTI’s annual shareholder meeting.