If this were a martini, it would be shaken and not stirred. Marijuana industry giant MedMen Enterprises co-founder and CEO Adam Bierman stepped down from his role with the company February 1. In the meantime, the board announced Ryan Lissack, the company’s COO and chief technology officer, as interim CEO. The company said it would consider both internal and external candidates to fill the CEO role.
MedMen, a U.S. based publicly traded cannabis company, was co-founded in 2010 by Adam Bierman and Andrew Modlin. The company has had its fair share of ups and downs in a burgeoning industry. Recent concerns about the company’s financial health and growth surfaced after downsizing, the result of which cut almost 200 jobs. Another blow to the company was in late 2019 when MedMen nixed a planned merger with PharmaCann.
Part of the problem was a disputed ownership structure and related super-voting shares, which gave Bierman and Modlin unparalleled power. This concerned shareholders. Both Bierman and Modlin have given up their super-voting shares. Bierman’s shares reverted to the company immediately upon his resignation. Modlin’s shares are held, for now, by the company’s executive chairman Ben Rose, and those shares will be officially returned to the company in December 2020.
In a press release, Rose said, “The Board supports both Adam’s decision to step aside for a new CEO to lead the Company, and his and Andrew’s decision to surrender their voting rights to give all shareholders a stronger voice.”
In early January, reports surfaced that MedMen was offering to pay vendors in company stock instead of cash. The company’s stock valuation dropped as a result, but company shares gained 12% once Bierman resigned. Bierman offered a statement, saying, “I continue to believe that MedMen is positioned to thrive. It’s time for our next iteration of leadership to capitalize on the opportunity we have created.”
According to MarketWatch, Bierman will remain on the MedMen board. The company surged in popularity initially, with sleek and modern retail stores. Still, critics called the company out for extravagant spending and indulgent executive compensation programs. In January 2019, former CFO James Parker sued MedMen. In his lawsuit, he accused the company of wrongful termination, and he disagreed with spending decisions, including using company money to buy luxury automobiles for Bierman and Modlin.