Marijuana Business Magazine November-December 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | Month 2019 168 Industry Players | New Hires & Promotions A look at some recent hiring moves in the marijuana industry By Omar Sacirbey About 10 years ago, when she was the CEO of Elephant Pharmacy, a wellness retailer founded in Berkeley, California, Kathi Lentzsch approached Josh Rosen, a partner with Phoenix investment firm Kea Private Capital, about a medical marijuana business idea. But the idea never took off, and Lentzsch moved on after deter- mining that the nation’s cannabis laws weren’t developed enough for the concept to succeed. Fast-forward to 2019, and it was Rosen, still a Kea partner and now also the CEO of 4Front Ventures in Arizona—one of the biggest multistate marijuana firms in the nation—who approached Lentzsch, now the CEO of Bartell Drugs in Washington state, one of the country’s oldest family-owned drugstore chains. He wanted her on 4Front’s board of directors. “I’ve been in anything from specialty stores to drugstores to department stores,” Lentzsch said. “My experience crosses all the things you need to know for retail—from real estate to branding, marketing and product development.” Lentzsch spent the early part of her career in high-level merchandising and marketing posts with companies such as Pier 1 Imports and Pot- tery Barn before becoming executive vice pres- ident of merchandising and marketing at Cost Plus World Market, a national retailer of home and culinary products, including wine. “I have experience opening stores across the country in a regulated world (alcohol), which is helpful in this situation,” she said. She also helped turn around Illinois-based giftware wholesaler Enesco as its chief merchan- dising and marketing officer and held the top spot at Gump’s, a luxury retailer and mail-order company in San Francisco. Lentzsch said much has changed since her first stab at joining the cannabis industry 10 years ago, and that she has a lot to catch up on. How will she do it? “I plan to visit cultivation sites, and I’d like to see some of the stores that are not on theWest Coast, where I am,” she said. “Any time you’re in retail, the more you can be in the stores, the better. You always learn something from your customers and your employ- ees. That’s critical.” Also joining 4Front’s board is Betty Aldworth, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), which was once led by 4Front executive Kris Krane. Aldworth joined SSDP in 2014 and is credited with doubling the group’s member base and quadrupling its global footprint. She previously served as deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association and worked as a consultant to marijuana-related businesses and nonprofit organizations. The company also recently expanded its finance team: • The new CFO is Brad Kotansky , who began his career in New York as an investment banker and portfolio manager before becoming an entrepreneur in Phoenix, where he co-founded and ran a real estate investment and development business and a financial technology company. He began working with 4Front full time in June to support special projects and was recruited to assume a larger role. • Nicolle Dorsey  joined 4Front as executive vice president of finance. Dorsey will report to Kotansky and oversee the finance team’s day-to-day operations. • Clay Crolius , who has served as 4Front’s controller since December 2016, has been promoted to principal accounting officer and controller with primary responsibility for the company’s financial reporting and tax accounting. • David Croom , former CFO for Cannex Capital Holdings and 4Front, became CFO of Brightleaf, 4Front’s production division. Cannabis Executive, Interrupted Kathi Lentzsch Kathi Lentzsch Courtesy Photo