Aurora Cannabis CEO Terry Booth to step down, 500 staff face layoffs
Alberta-based Aurora Cannabis is opening the largest cannabis shop in the country: A mammoth 11,000-square-foot storefront in West Edmonton Mall. Nov. 26, 2019. (CTV News Edmonton)
EDMONTON -- Aurora Cannabis Inc. announced a dramatic restructuring of the company that involves the departure of hundreds of staff including its chief executive officer.
The Edmonton-based company revealed on Thursday afternoon that Terry Booth will immediately retire and it will eliminate the positions of about 500 staff, 25 per cent of which are corporate positions.
Aurora said executive chairman Michael Singer has been appointed interim CEO immediately and a search for a permanent successor is underway. Booth will remain a director and become a senior strategic adviser to the board, which will gain two new members: Lance Friedmann and Michael Detlefsen.
The moves are the product of a detailed evaluation of all capital projects underway that will see a restructuring of spending plans related to technology, sales and marketing, travel and entertainment, professional services and non-revenue generating third-party costs.
The company previously decided to reduce its capital expenditures to below $100 million for the second half of fiscal 2020, but Thursday's announcement also revealed that Aurora expects to report asset impairment charges on certain intangible and property, plant and equipment in a range of $190 million to $225 million and goodwill writedowns between $740 million and $775 million.
“These changes, along with the financial transformation which we are undertaking, should clearly demonstrate to investors that Aurora has the continuity, strategic direction and leadership it needs to transition from its entrepreneurial roots to an established organization well positioned to capitalize on a global growth opportunity,” Booth said in a statement.
He noted that he is both “proud” and “humbled” to have led the company, but feels “there is still much work to be done” and that “the timing is right” for him to step away.“
“He's made an indelible mark on the industry and left an enviable legacy in the form of Aurora Cannabis and the potential that exists for the Company over the coming decades,” Singer added, in the same release. “As one of the original cannabis visionaries, Terry is an invaluable resource with deep industry knowledge that we can leverage strategically.”
Aurora is one of the world's largest cannabis companies with operations in 25 countries and 17 subsidiaries, including MedReleaf, CanvasRX and CanniMed Therapeutics. It has invested in and formed strategic partnerships with brands including Choom Holdings Inc. and High Tide Inc.
Aurora has faced rocky times in recent months. Its chief corporate officer Cam Battley, often the public face of the company who was credited for much of its early success, abruptly stepped down in December.
The company's announcement comes just after Tilray Inc. announced on Tuesday that it laid off 10 per cent of its workforce in an effort to cut costs. The company - with a total headcount of about 1,443 - said the move would help it better meet the needs of the industry and foster growth in 2020 and beyond.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 6, 2020.