The Cannabist Company Appoints New CEO, Signals New Growth Phase

Vita will continue to serve as a director while shifting his focus to research in pediatric diseases.

The Cannabist Company Holdings Inc. (NEO: CBST) (OTCQX: CCHWF) is up more than 10% on news of a major overhaul in its C-suite, with David Hart stepping in as the new chief executive officer, the company said Monday.

Formerly serving as the president and chief operating officer, Hart takes over from Nicholas Vita, who co-founded the company in 2012 and has been at the helm since its inception. Vita, who is a well-known business figure within the industry, will continue to serve as a director while shifting his focus to research in pediatric diseases.

“We all owe Nick a debt of gratitude for having the vision to form what is now The Cannabist Company more than a decade ago,” newly minted CEO David Hart said in a statement.

“The strength of the team and continued commitment to serving our communities will carry us into this next exciting chapter. We have implemented strategic organizational changes in recent quarters that have prepared us for this change.”

The leadership change comes at a time when The Cannabist Company has been looking to expand its presence, after its former megadeal with Cresco Labs capsized after months of speculation.

Previously known as Columbia Care, the firm has reported falling revenues and mounting loss over the past year as it continues to right-size and exit markets that don’t serve it well. Despite that, the company still clears $500 million in annual revenue.

Jesse Channon, previously the chief commercial officer, has been appointed as the new president of the company. Channon’s promotion is seen as a strategic move to boost the company’s commercial and digital initiatives.

“The Cannabist Company would not exist as it does today without Nick and his fortitude to lead us through the peaks and valleys of running a cannabis company,” said Channon.

“His passion is infused in everything we do, and we are looking forward to building on those commitments we’ve made to bring a higher experience to everyone we serve and support, both internally and externally. I am incredibly proud to be stepping into this role and to have the opportunity to further shape and define our place as a leader in the cannabis industry.”

Under Vita’s leadership, Col-Care established a name in the nascent (and often high-stakes) sector, going public on a senior exchange in Canada and becoming a force throughout a litter of U.S. state markets.

Hart, who joined the company in 2016, brings a diverse background in healthcare and financial sectors to his new role as CEO. His appointment is expected to steer the firm through its next phase of growth, focusing on wholesale operations and organic expansion.

Adam Jackson

Adam Jackson writes about the cannabis industry for the Green Market Report. He previously covered the Missouri Statehouse for the Columbia Missourian and has written for the Missouri Independent. He most recently covered retail, restaurants and other consumer companies for Bloomberg Business News. You can find him on Twitter at @adam_sjackson and email him at adam.jackson@crain.com.


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