Australis taps cannabis finance veteran Jon Paul to CFO role, offers corporate update amid leadership transition

Paul was previously CFO at PLUS Products, a CSE-listed hemp and cannabis edibles company with operations in California and Nevada

In November, AUSA began a leadership transition led by interim CEO Duke Fu

() (OTC:AUSAF) announced Wednesday that it has named cannabis and consumer goods veteran appointed Jon Paul its new CFO, effective January 1.

Paul was previously CFO at PLUS Products, a CSE-listed hemp and cannabis edibles company with operations in California and Nevada. He oversaw the company's IPO and was a key member of the team responsible for its 15-fold increase in revenue. 

Over his more than 40-year career, Paul has held several senior financial roles at public and private companies in the cannabis, consumer goods, wireless telecom and generic pharmaceutical industries.

READ: Australis Capital says new board of directors is ready to get to work optimizing cannabis assets

"Jon comes to us with a stellar track record in driving business performance across various sectors, including the US cannabis industry," Jason Dyck, chairperson of AUSA's compensation and nominating committee, said in a statement. "With his broad experience across multiple financial disciplines, including financial reporting, M&A, capital markets, corporate financial efficiency and operations, he is the ideal candidate to take on this key role as AUSA executes on its aggressive growth strategy. I look forward to working closely with Jon as we take AUSA to the next level."

Paul is a frequent speaker and blogger about the cannabis industry and is connected through his involvement in industry associations and cannabis peer groups, the company said.

Australis has issued its new CFO 2 million stock options with an exercise price of $0.20 per share and a term of three years. 

"What attracted me to AUSA was the renewed clear strategic focus of its leadership team and the entrepreneurial culture, aimed at building a capital-light, highly efficient MSO juggernaut,” Paul said. “The opportunity in the US cannabis industry is enormous and I believe that AUSA has what it takes to become a meaningful player in this market. 

In November, AUSA began a leadership transition led by interim CEO Duke Fu.

“Duke Fu's successes at Green Therapeutics speak for themselves, and the new board brings a wealth of experience, connections and opportunities that I believe set the company apart from the vast majority of its peers,” Paul said. "I look forward to working with Duke and the rest of the AUSA team to deliver strong, profitable growth, and generate substantial shareholder value."

Negotiations with the company’s leading CEO have commenced, the company said, and it plans to announce the appointment early in the new year.

Corporate Update

AUSA is close to completing an initial strategic review of its assets, which is expected to inform and direct the new leadership team once finalized, the company said. The investments and agreements in relation to Cocoon and Passport were reviewed, and board and management are developing strategies to maximize shareholder value.

“The company is reviewing prior arrangements made in relation to Passport and will report on this as we move forward,” Fu said. “Other assets, such as our investments in Body and Mind and the assets acquired from Green Therapeutics, provide a closer fit with our strategy and objectives, and we are exploring potential synergies through closer collaboration and mutual support."

AUSA owns at 17% interest in Body and Mind, which achieved record system wide managed revenue of $17.66 million in its fiscal year ended July 31.

“We welcome the new board at AUSA who clearly share our excitement about the opportunity in the rapidly expanding US cannabis market,” BAMM CEO Michael Mills said. “...The new board at AUSA brings a strong mix of cannabis and capital market experience at a time when the industry is experiencing unprecedented growth and legislative advances. We look forward to working with the new C-Suite and the team at AUSA to expand our opportunities and will inform our shareholders as we achieve new milestones along this journey."

Speaking of the US market, AUSA’s leadership team is assessing individual jurisdictions on their attractiveness along parameters including legal framework, entry requirements, expected market size and more. 

"Nevada is a market we particularly like due to its capped regime, permissibility of public company ownership, huge influx of tourism and other local market dynamics,” Fu said. “We have multiple other states on our radar screen, with a clear focus on the east coast, while certain west coast markets have passed our litmus test also.”

Contact Andrew Kessel at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kessel

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