This story was reprinted with permission from Crain’s Chicago and written by John Pletz.
Board members weren’t the only ones who resigned last week from marijuana company Green Thumb Industries (OTC: GTBIF).
The company’s general counsel, Beth Burk, also departed, according to a U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission filing made Oct. 7. Burk was a chief compliance officer at Aon before joining Green Thumb, one of Chicago’s largest cannabis companies, in early 2020.
Burk resigned Oct. 4, along with three of GTI’s four independent directors: YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago CEO Dorri McWhorter; William Gruver, a former Bucknell University professor and Goldman Sachs executive; and Glen Senk, a private-equity executive. All three were members of the company’s audit committee.
The company said when it announced the board changes, “the resigning directors informed management that their cause for 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. It became clear that the former directors and existing management could not find a resolution satisfactory to all parties.”
GTI didn’t provide any details on the circumstances around Burk’s departure, nor did it respond to a request for comment.
“It’s not a good sign when the audit committee and general counsel depart in one fell swoop,” says Charles Elson, a corporate governance expert and retired professor of finance at the University of Delaware.
In its regulatory filing, the company disclosed the terse resignation letter from the three board members, which was written by Senk, a former CEO of Urban Outfitters who joined GTI when it went public in 2018. “We confirm our resignations from the Green Thumb board of directors as of 11:59 PM CT on October 3, 2022, because of our material differences with company management,” the letter states. “This correspondence supersedes our prior written correspondence to you on this matter.”
SEC filings did not contain any previous correspondence. The company also said in its filing that Jeff Goldman, one of two board members selected to replace those who resigned, has been working for GTI as a marketing consultant since November.