The Australian cannabis product producer and global industry leader, Elixinol Global Limited (ASX:EXL), has announced a major change to its senior management team.
As part of the company's future growth plans, Elixinol has appointed Stratos Karousos as Chief Executive Officer (CEO)—effective immediately—as former CEO Paul Benhaim moves into the role of Chief Innovation Officer (CIO).
While Benhaim is stepping down from his role as CEO, he will still retain his position on the Elixinol's Board, and continues to hold a 39.6% ownership stake in the company.
News of the leadership change caused stock in Elixinol Global to enter a moderate decline, and as of midday July 16 2019, shares were selling for 3.97 a piece, representing a loss of 3.41%.
As part of the move, Elixinol Global will be expanding its Global Executive Offices in Sydney, Australia, to strengthen its global planning and support network. The expansion will also allow Elixinol's regional offices to focus on executing the company's operational strategy.
According to Elixinol Global's Non-Executive Chairman, Andrew Duff, these structure changes "will better enable Elixinol Global to capitalise on the significant industry opportunity, and reflect Elixinol Global's continued and exciting growth."
"As Co-Founder of Elixinol Global, Paul [Benhaim] has played an instrumental role in shaping and developing the Company to where it is today. The company is now of a scale that coordinated global resources are necessary to leverage insights and create efficiencies."
"The Board is of the view that Paul's greatest value will be to focus on leading our innovation efforts, recognising the fast-moving shift in consumer appetite for CBD and hemp derived products. I would also like to acknowledge Linda's significant contribution to the Board since inception."
– Elixinol Global Non-Executive Chairman, Andrew Duff
"Stratos has had a positive impact as Chief Commercial and Legal Officer since moving into that role in May this year and has the benefit of a thorough understanding of our business and relationships with our team. We recognise the skills, capabilities and track record of Stratos to deliver value to the Company and our shareholders and believe that now is the right time to further broaden Stratos' role to help unlock Elixinol Global's growth potential," Duff said.
Stratos Karousos will also re-join the Elixinol Board after Linda McLeod chose to voluntarily exit—although she will continue to hold her current position as an executive—so a non-executive majority could be facilitated.
Karousos used the announcement to address Elixinol's recent successful capital raising—which was announced in June 2019—while declaring that the hemp derived CBD market will remain its key focus going forward.
"Elixinol Global currently has a broad business, both geographically and by product line," Karousos said.
"The plan is to critically review where we want to focus our efforts in the near-term and prioritise areas with the greatest potential. We believe the opportunity in the global CBD market, in particular the US, is substantial."