GrowLife Hires Former Yahoo, Microsoft Exec

California-based GrowLife Inc., which sells cultivation equipment and operates hydroponics stores across the country, has hired a former executive with Yahoo and Microsoft to join its management team.

Marco Hegyi will serve as GrowLife’s president and join the board of directors, effective immediately.

The hiring of a business big-wig who has worked at some of the largest names in corporate America is still rare in the cannabis industry. But, as we noted in a post earlier this week, more mainstream professionals are starting to enter the cannabis business.

On Tuesday, the investment firm Privateer Holdings announced that it has hired a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent, while many lawyers, banking veterans and other executives are applying for business licenses in new cannabis states. And another former Microsoft executive, Jamen Shively, has plans to develop a nationwide chain of dispensaries and retail stores.

Hegyi has a solid pedigree, having served as senior director of global product management at Yahoo and, previously, manager of a division at Microsoft focused on program management for Windows and Office beta releases. Most recently, he was principal at The Chasm Group, a high-tech industry consulting firm.

Hegyi replaces interim president Kyle Tracey, who the company said has elected to leave “for an exciting new engagement in our industry that is pending announcement.”

The addition of Hegyi should help GrowLife (ticker symbol: PHOT) take the next step as a publicly traded company, bringing it more credibility in a sea of skepticism. GrowLife’s shares rose by 20%, or nearly 2 cents, on Wednesday to close at 11 cents.

The company has made some notable progress recently, nailing down a deal last month for $40 million in investment money that it will use primarily to make acquisitions and fund other cannabis companies.