Ontario cannabis firm Hexo announces fourth chief financial officer in two years

The chief financial officer carousel is turning once again at cannabis producer Hexo Corp.

The Ontario, Canada-headquartered company said Trent MacDonald will take over as the company’s next CFO.

That is expected to happen “in the coming months” after the successful completion of Health Canada’s key personnel change and security clearance processes, according to the company’s announcement.

MacDonald will succeed Stephen Burwash, who will remain as CFO through the transition.

MacDonald will be Hexo’s fourth CFO in the past two years – the fifth if you consider that Burwash served as CFO twice, including once in an interim capacity.

Before Burwash, the CFO chair was filled by:

  • Ed Chaplin (March 15, 2017-April 30, 2019).
  • Michael Monahan (May 22, 2019-Oct. 4, 2019).

Burwash served as interim CFO in 2019 from May 1 to May 22.

Hexo did not provide an explanation for the Burwash’s departure, nor did the company immediately reply to a query from Marijuana Business Daily.

The company said MacDonald brings more than 15 years of financial experience, including stints with Rx Drug Mart, a private pharmacy operator; Indigo, a bookstore retailer; and supermarket chain Sobeys.

Hexo is among a number of large Canadian cannabis producers struggling to contain losses.

But unlike other producers who replaced CEOs after making risky bets on massive and unnecessary greenhouses, Hexo’s chief executive, Sebastien St. Louis, has been at the helm since March 15, 2017.

In a note to investors, Owen Bennett, analyst for New York-based Jefferies, noted that MacDonald will be Hexo’s third CFO within a year.

“This does not really inspire confidence as an observer with regards to the outlook for the company,” he wrote.

“Although his experience is robust, it lacks C-suite for any significant period, and it also lacks any experience within any global consumer goods organizations.

“Given the limited experience of the founder and CEO, Sebastien St. Louis, in this respect, investors may have hoped for someone a bit more high profile.”

The company trades as HEXO on the New York Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange.