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Cannabis Aphria president Jakob Ripshtein resigning as company names new executives

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Cannabis company Aphria Inc. announced Tuesday that Jakob Ripshtein, the company’s president, was resigning as it made several other changes in the executive suite.

The company said Ripshtein will remain in his current role until June 7.

The move came as the company named James Meiers as chief operating officer of its greenhouse, Aphria Leamington.

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Meiers joins Aphria from Hain Celestial Group, Inc., a natural and organic products company with operations in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

The company also named Tim Purdie as chief information officer and chief information security officer, and Maureen Berry as vice-president, corporate human resources.

Aphria is still looking for a permanent chief executive since Vic Neufeld announced in January he would be stepping away from the role.

Irwin Simon, Aphria’s interim chief executive, welcomed Meiers and Berry and the promotion of Purdie.

“A top priority for us is to continue to build our executive talent and culture,” Simon said in a statement.

“We believe today’s appointments demonstrate our commitment to adding depth, experience and leadership to our team as we further advance Aphria’s strategic priorities in Canada and around the world.”

Aphria took a $50 million non-cash impairment charge related to its assets in Latin America earlier this year after the Ontario Securities Commission requested it perform an impairment test.

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Short-sellers alleged in December that Aphria’s acquisition of these assets in Latin America were purchased at “vastly inflated” prices, prompting the company’s board to task a special committee to conduct its own review.

The special committee determined that the LATAM purchase was within an acceptable range, but the company said the impairment charge was due to a reassessment of the discount rate and financial forecasts due to new financial information.

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