Marijuana Business Magazine April 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | April 2019 110 L ast July, around the time he retired from what he thought would be his last full-time job, pharmaceutical industry veteran Stephen Lermer took a call from Hess Moallem, the CEO of Colorado CBD producer Charlotte’s Web. Moallem and Lermer had worked together off and on over the years, including stints at two Austin, Texas-based pharmaceutical firms—Akela Pharma and Premier Research Laboratories—as well as other ventures. They also considered each other “old friends.” When Moallem asked Lermer if he wanted to work part time for Charlotte’s Web as an adviser on issues such as setting up international operations, improving efficiencies, productivity, quality control and organizational structure, Lermer jumped at the opportunity and started in September. The part-time gig gradually grew in scope and time, and by January, Lermer had been appointed Charlotte Web’s chief operating officer. Charlotte’s Web is going from an early stage company to the next phase of its life cycle, Lermer said. “And when companies go through that, they have inefficiencies that they have to address. Lermer, who spent 38 years in the pharmaceutical industry, including holding executive posts at DuPont, Johnson & Johnson and Orion Oyj, said the CBD sector is similar and was confident his pharma experience would ease Charlotte’s Web’s transition to the next level. “Once the plant is cut, it becomes a chemical engineering process. You have extraction, separation, refinement and blending. My experience is fully transferable to this new post,” Lermer said. “We operate Charlotte’s Web with very similar practices and controls as you’d find in a pharmaceutical company. We operate in a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) environment, paying the same level of attention to the production and release of our product.” So, what are Lermer’s priorities? Among them, taking Charlotte’s Web international and creating “differentiated products” protected by intellectual property rights. “I want to take it to that level,” Lermer said. “It’s not just coming up with another cream or ointment. It’s finding ways to manipulate the plant through processes that will give us intellectual property.” Charlotte’s Web Founder Catches Old Friend Stephen Lermer A look at some recent hiring moves in the marijuana industry Industry Players | New Hires & Promotions Former Mexican President Joins Ancillary MJ Firm Former Mexican President Vicente Fox expanded his participation in the global legal cannabis industry, joining the board of directors for Helix TCS. The Denver-based firm is involved in marijuana security services, seed-to-sale tracking and wholesale marketplaces. It trades on U.S. over- the-counter markets. This is at least the second appoint- ment to the board of a cannabis company for Fox, who in July joined the board of directors at Khiron Life Sciences, a Canadian cannabis com- pany whose core operations are in Colombia. Fox will serve as a strategic adviser to Helix as it grows. Dun & Bradstreet Exec Joins Cresco Board Chicago-based Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertically integrated multistate cannabis operators in the United States, appointed Dun & Brad- street interim CEO Tom Manning as chair of the board of directors. Manning joined Cresco’s board in 2016. He joined Dun & Bradstreet in 2013, after working in Asia for nearly 20 years in a variety of CEO roles in the information technology, consulting and private equity sectors for firms such as Capgemini, Ernst & Young and Cerberus. Manning also was a senior partner with Bain & Co., where he led the global IT practice in the Silicon Valley and Asia. He began his career at McKinsey & Co., where he launched the firm’s medical device and health-care practice. Manning has served on numerous public and private boards and is currently an independent director of CommScope Holdings, a leader in the telecommunications technology field, and Clear Media, a leader in outdoor advertising in China. He also was recently chosen as a 2019 Fellow in By Omar Sacirbey Stephen Lermer Courtesy Photo