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Cannabis Startup Hires Ex-Kellogg Finance Chief -- WSJ

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07/10/2019 | 02:48am EDT

By Nina Trentmann

Surterra Wellness Inc. Tuesday named former Kellogg Co. chief financial officer Fareed Khan as its next finance chief, the cannabis startup's latest senior appointment as it seeks to capitalize on legal marijuana sales.

Mr. Khan left Kellogg earlier this month after more than two years at the helm of the cereal maker's finance department.

Several other senior executives have joined Atlanta, Ga.-based Surterra from large international companies. They include William Wrigley Jr. II, the former chairman and chief executive of the gum and confectionery company now owned by Mars Inc., and Ed Brown, the former CEO of Patrón Spirits Co.

In the U.S., 30 states permit the medical use of marijuana, while recreational use is allowed in nine states and in Washington, D.C. Surterra sells a range of medical and wellness products containing marijuana, including vaporizer pens, tinctures, oral sprays, creams and gels, under names such as Florida's Finest, Coral Reefer and The Apothecary Shoppe.

The closely held company last month raised $100 million from undisclosed private investors to fund its expansion, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company has raised roughly $350 million since its founding in 2014.

"Joining Surterra at this particular time of the company's evolution and of the cannabis industry's continued trajectory couldn't be more exciting for me," Mr. Khan said in a statement.

In his new role, Mr. Khan will be tasked with overseeing the Surterra's corporate finance group as well as with other duties including investor relations and taxes.

"Fareed's track record of translating strategy into initiatives that drive growth for both private and public companies, across a number of industries, will propel our continued success," said Mr. Wrigley, Surterra's CEO.

Before joining Kellogg, Mr. Khan served as CFO at U.S. Foods Holding Corp. and at United Stationers -- now trading as Essendant Inc. -- and worked at USG Corp. for nearly 12 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Mr. Khan replaces James Whitcomb, who had been Surterra CFO since 2016. Mr. Whitcomb will become executive director of corporate development and continue as a member of the office of the CEO and the company's board of directors.

Write to Nina Trentmann at Nina.Trentmann@wsj.com

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
APHRIA INC -3.50% 15.15 End-of-day quote.0.00%
AURORA CANNABIS INC 3.67% 7.91 Delayed Quote.12.54%
AUXLY CANNABIS GROUP INC 2.22% 0.92 Delayed Quote.1.10%
CANNTRUST HOLDINGS INC 5.68% 2.79 Delayed Quote.-57.53%
CANOPY GROWTH CORP 2.31% 37.25 Delayed Quote.1.75%
CRONOS GROUP INC -0.06% 16.12 Delayed Quote.12.10%
GREEN ORGANIC DUTCHMAN HOLDINGS LTD 6.06% 3.15 Delayed Quote.28.05%
HEXO CORP 3.51% 5.89 Delayed Quote.25.05%
KELLOGG 0.41% 63.78 Delayed Quote.11.42%
LIBERTY HEALTH SCIENCES INC -8.79% 0.415 Delayed Quote.-54.89%
LONDON SUGAR -0.95% 312.6 End-of-day quote.-6.41%
ORGANIGRAM HOLDINGS INC 2.71% 6.82 Delayed Quote.40.91%
S FOODS INC. -0.80% 3085 End-of-day quote.-22.29%
SUPREME CANNABIS COMPANY INC 12.31% 1.46 Delayed Quote.10.61%
TILRAY INC -10.85% 31.31 Delayed Quote.-55.61%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2019 13 484 M
EBIT 2019 1 792 M
Net income 2019 1 173 M
Debt 2019 7 813 M
Yield 2019 3,58%
P/E ratio 2019 18,9x
P/E ratio 2020 15,8x
EV / Sales2019 2,19x
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Fareed A. Khan Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President
James M. M. Jenness Director
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