Longtime Loblaw Cos. executive Grant Froese has joined Harvest One Cannabis Inc. as chief executive officer.
With the appointment, Froese — who spent 38 years at Loblaw, most recently as chief operating officer — also became a member of the board of directors at Harvest One. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based describes itself as an early-entry cannabis company serving the medical and recreational marijuana markets in Canada and globally.
"Harvest One is a unique opportunity to apply my experience to a complex business with a portfolio of brands in the emerging regulated cannabis industry," Froese (left) said in a statement. "Harvest One has a platform for success through its three distinct business units in Canada and internationally. We will continue to build Harvest One as a house of brands, aiming to bring the most sophisticated cannabis products to the global medical and recreational markets."
At Loblaw, Froese served as COO for nearly three years and retired from the company in April 2017. Before his promotion to that post in 2014, he served as chief administrative officer, executive vice president of hard discount and superstores, and executive vice president of merchandising, among other roles. His experience at Loblaw included leading operations and merchandising at all levels as well as oversight of information technology, supply chain, digital/e-commerce businesses, marketing and brands.
Froese came out of retirement last August, when he was named CEO of Hamilton, Ontario-based Marquee Health Group Ltd., a medical cannabis company.
"The board is very excited to welcome Grant to the Harvest One team," stated Peter Wall, chairman of Harvest One. "Grant's leadership experience and operational capabilities will be a significant asset to the company as we look to execute on our strategic vision. With Grant's background and credentials, we are very pleased to have appointed one of Canada's leading executives."
Harvest One’s business encompasses three wholly owned operating subsidiaries: United Greeneries Ltd., the company’s horticultural arm and a Canadian-licensed producer of cannabis; Satipharm AG, its Switzerland-based medical and pharmaceutical arm; and Dream Water Global, the company’s consumer goods division.
Positioned as a vertically integrated global group, Harvest One provides cannabis cultivation through United Greeneries; manufacturing, marketing and distribution of medical and pharmaceutical cannabis products via Satipharm; and consumer goods marketing, manufacturing and distribution with Dream Water.
Hollywood, Fla.-based Dream Water, acquired at the end of May, makes liquid and powder over-the-counter sleep aids. Harvest One combined the company with its Dream Water Canada arm to form Dream Water Global. Plans call for Dream Water to expand into the cannabis space. Harvest One said Dream Water Canada has a cannabis-based product development program to include cannabidiol and/or full-spectrum hemp in oral spray, liquid suspension and soluble powder-based products for the recreational and OTC cannabis markets in Canada.
Cannabis use currently isn’t legal in Canada except for medical purposes. To date, Health Canada has licensed 112 authorized producers of cannabis for medical use, led by 60 in Ontario and 24 in British Columbia. Last month, the federal government approved the Cannabis Act Bill C-45, which as of Oct. 17, 2018, will make Canada the second country, after Uruguay, to legalize recreational cannabis nationwide.
Loblaw subsidiary Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada’s largest drug chain, has lined up suppliers for medical cannabis, including agreements with Aphria Inc., Aurora Cannabis Inc., MedReleaf Corp. and Tilray Canada Ltd.