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Saturday, Jun 25, 2022
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.


Tilray hires ex-Bacardi GM as president

The firm will look to tap Blair MacNeil’s beverage alcohol expertise in its search for profits

Tilray hires ex-Bacardi GM as president
Tilray's 1.3-million-square-foot greenhouse in Leamington, Ontario. Press photo

Canadian cannabis giant Tilray, Inc. (TSX: TLRY) (Nasdaq: TLRY) is padding out its top management with beverage alcohol expertise, as it hires a new president with over a decade in the sector.

In a statement Tuesday, the company said it had appointed Blair MacNeil as president of Tilray Canada. Up until now, he had been serving as Bacardi’s general manager for its Canadian business for the past five years.

In his new role, Tilray says MacNeil will drive the company’s next stage of growth in Canada and oversee sales, marketing and operations across medical and adult-use cannabis. He will report to Jim Meiers, former president, who has been appointed as COO.

The firm describes MacNeil as a “tenured consumer packaged goods executive” with extensive experience at high-growth companies including Stoli, River Bend, Corby Distillaries and Pepsi.

The vast majority of his roles have been in senior sales and marketing positions focused on the beverage industry in Canada, suggesting Tilray will continue to focus its strategy toward CPG operations with an emphasis on the beverage space.

Despite cannabis beverages’ lukewarm market presence thus far, many firms continue to see promise in the sector.

CEO Irwin Simon welcomed MacNeil to his company’s executive team, noting his “proven track record in driving accelerated growth for industry-leading brands.”

“His extensive experience in growing consumer loved brands will further advance our growth strategy and expand our presence across Canada to reach our 30 per cent market share goal by the end of fiscal year 2024. We would also like to congratulate [Meiers] on his well-deserved promotion.”

While Tilray’s top boss continues to produce bullish soundbites, ongoing struggles continue to suggest difficulties in finding its footing.

In September, the firm closed its flagship facility in Nanaimo, which will likely lead to 160–300 lost jobs. Revenue was up 18 per cent in its recent fiscal quarter, but Tilray booked almost $35 million in losses, and cited “ankle biters” as cutting into its Canadian profits.

Read more: Tilray confirms shutdown of flagship Nanaimo facility

Read more: Tilray says it’s fighting ‘ankle biters’ for sales in Q1 call


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