Ascend Wellness Holdings Appoints John Hartmann as CEO, Prepares for Next Growth Phase

2.6 min readPublished On: May 9th, 2023By

LOS ANGELES– Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc., a multi-state, vertically integrated cannabis operator dedicated to improving lives through cannabis, has announced the appointment of John Hartmann as the new Chief Executive Officer, effective May 15th. As the company gears up to enter the next stage of its growth, it has also made changes to its Board of Directors, which will take effect on May 15th.

Following an extensive search led by Russel Reynolds, the Board has appointed Hartmann as the new CEO. Bringing with him vast experience and expertise in leadership, strategy, and operations, Hartmann has held several progressive leadership roles throughout his career. His previous positions include President of BuyBuy Baby and CEO of True Value Company. Hartmann also serves on the boards of various public and private companies and is an Independent Director of the Board for Boyd Group Services, Inc (TSX: BYD) and HD Supply, Inc (a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Home Depot).

Founder and Executive Chairman of Ascend Wellness Holdings, Abner Kurtin, said, “We are thrilled to have John Hartmann join us as our CEO. John is a proven leader that has a history of leading larger companies to operational excellence in competitive environments. His experience and expertise will be instrumental in leading the Company into its next phase of growth. We are confident that under his leadership, Ascend will continue to drive value for our shareholders, customers, and employees.”

In addition to Hartmann’s appointment, the Company has implemented several changes to its Board of Directors. John Hartmann and Sam Brill have been appointed to the Board, with Brill also serving as the Lead Independent Director and Chair of the Compensation Committee. The Audit Committee will now include Scott Swid (Chair), Josh Gold, and Abner Kurtin, while the Compensation and Governance Committee will comprise Sam Brill (as Chair), Josh Gold, and Abner Kurtin. Effective May 15th, Dan Neville will return to his original position as Chief Financial Officer and step down from the Board, while Frank Perullo will continue to serve on the Board and transition to a Strategic Advisor role for the Company, focusing on regulatory issues and legalization efforts. In conjunction with this announcement, Chris Melillo, Chief Revenue Officer, and the Company have mutually decided to part ways, with Melillo remaining in his position to aid with the transition and planning to depart in Q3.

“We look forward to welcoming Sam Brill, a leading cannabis debt investor, to the Board of Directors,” said Kurtin. “I would also like to extend my gratitude to Dan and Frank for their service as interim Co-CEOs. Furthermore, I would like to thank Frank for his role on the leadership team as he steps to a strategic advisor position. As co-Founders, Frank and I will continue to add value and share our expertise from the Board of Directors, but we are pleased to have new leadership replacing us on the day-to-day management team as we transition away from a founder-led management team. I would also like to thank Chris for helping to build our retail business and for staying on to facilitate the transfer.”


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