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Cannabis market leader Canopy Growth names Constellation Brands’ CFO as its new CEO

Shares soar 13% as CFO of Canopy’s biggest shareholder takes the helm

Canopy Growth Corp. said Monday it has named David Klein, currently chief financial officer at its biggest shareholder, Constellation Brands Inc., as its new chief executive, taking over from Mark Zekulin on January 14.

The news sent the U.S.-listed shares up about 13%.

Zekulin became the sole CEO of the largest cannabis company by market capitalization after the Constellation Brands-dominated board of directors fired former co-CEO Bruce Linton in July. Zekulin and Linton previously told MarketWatch that tensions in the boardroom had been rising in the months after Constellation STZ, -0.19% took control of the Canopy CGC, -5.64%WEED, -5.57%  board as part of a $4 billion investment.

Prior to Linton’s dismissal, Zekulin -—a one-time political operative—- held the title of co-CEO and was largely responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations, while Linton operated as a public-facing spokesman and liaison to the capital markets. When the board ousted Linton, Zekulin agreed to remain as the sole CEO until a replacement was found, presiding over two-plus quarters of lackluster earnings amid broad problems for Canadian weed companies.

Zekulin previously told MarketWatch that there was a short list of replacement CEO candidates and that he and the board aimed to find an appropriate choice by the end of the year.

Klein has been at Corona beer brewer Constellation for 14 years. In his current role as CFO and executive vice president, he has overseen the company’s finance operations, M&A activity and IT. [Read More @ Marketwatch]

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