Canopy Growth’s (TSX: WEED) largest shareholder, Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), continues to deepen its ties within the weed titan.
The world’s most valuable cannabis company said Wednesday it appointed Judy Schmeling as chair of the board and Jim Sabia as a board director — both of whom are current high-ranking members at beverage giant Constellation.
The move means Constellation executives now hold four out of six board seats at Canopy.
David Klein, former chief financial officer at Constellation, stepped down as chair of the board when he was appointed as Canopy’s CEO last month. But he still sits on the board as a director.
“It is my pleasure to welcome Judy Schmeling as our Chair of the Board of Directors and to welcome Jim to the Board,” Klein said in a statement. “Judy’s leadership experience in highly competitive industries will be instrumental as we focus the business on its core priorities.”
Schmeling has served on Canopy’s board since November 2018 and also holds boardroom positions at Constellation and Casey’s General Stores, which are both Fortune 500 companies. Schmeling is also the former chief operating officer of the Home Shopping Network.
Schmeling’s ascension as a female chair of the board is a rare move in the cannabis industry, which has seen heavy criticism for its lack of diversity in high-ranking positions.
“During my time as a board member of Canopy Growth, I personally witnessed the unfolding of one of the most exciting market opportunities of our lifetime,” Schmeling said. “I look forward to working with my fellow board members and the entire Canopy Growth leadership team to help guide the company to lead the global cannabis industry.”
Meanwhile, Sabia currently serves as Constellation’s chief marketing officer, leading the company behind Corona beers’ marketing strategy. He will serve as a board advisor until Canopy completes the standard Health Canada processes associated with his appointment as director.
“I’m excited to join Canopy’s board” Sabia said. “There is no company better positioned in the emerging global cannabis market and I look forward to working with Canopy Growth’s very talented leadership team to ensure that we continue achieving success and remain a global leader in the years ahead.”
Canopy said Sabia’s vast knowledge of building brands in the beverage space is important for the cannabis company.
The Ontario producer has invested heavily in developing cannabis-infused beverages since Constellation bought a 37 per cent stake worth $5 billion in Canopy in August 2018.
But the company announced last week it has to delay the launch of its new 13 weed-infused drinks due to issues scaling up its beverage production facility in Smith Falls, Ontario.
Canopy didn’t give a revised timeline for the launch, but it said an update will be provided in the company’s fiscal third-quarter results, which are expected on Feb. 14.