Aurora Cannabis looking for CEO during a pandemic: drone visits, no handshakes

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Aurora Cannabis Inc. can hire a new CEO without ever shaking hands or meeting in person.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aurora
ACB,
+ 68.67%
ACB,
+ 66.84%

continued to look to hire a new CEO – albeit a little differently in pre-pandemic circumstances, acting chief executive Michael Singer told MarketWatch in a telephone interview. Instead of face-to-face meetings, executives make videoconference calls and, to show candidates around Aurora, the company uses images of drones from its flagship facility.

Singer said he has also organized a number of video tours that demonstrate the company’s “innovation”, referring to the high levels of automation that Aurora has incorporated into the weed growing operations she calls facilities. Sky class.
This is not an ideal scenario from Singer’s perspective, who would prefer the new CEO to “kick the tires” at his marijuana grow operations in Canada. But those sites are closed, except to “front line” employees, said Singer.

“Thinking of a new CEO on board – they want to see Aurora Sky, they want to meet people, rather than making the videos, but that is not possible,” said Singer.
Aurora is looking for a new CEO as he searches for new direction after a tumultuous year, and Singer said that no matter when a new boss joins the company, he won’t be distracted from his projects. After dropping two senior executives earlier this year, Aurora began to dismantle the company. It has laid off hundreds of employees, shut down construction projects in Canada and abroad, and launched a range of inexpensive weeds to capitalize on this demand.
More: people want cheap weed and Aurora Cannabis pays the price
The singer said Aurora is reconfiguring its culture because consumers have clearly expressed a preference for the cheap jar – he said the company is focused on making high-quality products at lower cost after s ” be endeavored before to grab the upper end of the pot market. In part, the cheap weeds will help convert the illicit market, which, according to Singer, was about three times larger than the legal market.
The company reported an unexpected surge in pot sales on Thursday, sending Aurora shares to a record high during Friday’s trading session. Despite the increase in sales, analysts expressed doubts on Friday that the company’s plans are strong enough to lift it from its current slump anytime soon.
PI Financial analyst Jason Zandberg wrote in a note on Friday that while revenue growth has been “robust”, his team is concerned about the company’s ability to cut expenses “without cutting to the bones ”.
Zandberg wrote that the company’s increased revenue came from the sale of large quantities of dried flowers and, since Aurora increased the pot it sold by about three times, the company will likely continue to flood the cheap cannabis market. Zandberg has cut his target price in half to C $ 12, compared to C $ 24, and values ​​the stock as a holdback.
Jefferies analyst Owen Bennett wrote that quarterly sales give investors reason to be optimistic, but noted that revenue generation has historically not been an area where Aurora shows weakness; rather, the company struggled with its “huge cost structure” – and it continues.
Although Aurora executives have said they will achieve an adjusted profitability measure by the first fiscal quarter, high costs and a slight omission on Thursday suggest that the company’s statements will not help alleviate fears that the profit target is ambitious. Bennett wrote that if the business fails it will have other implications as it has covenants tied to its adjusted profitability.
Bennett assesses Aurora Pending and has not updated its target price.
Aurora’s share listed in the United States jumped nearly 69% on Friday, the S&P 500
SPX,
+ 0.39%

increased by 0.4% and the ETF Cannabis
THCX,
+ 7.80%

gained 1.8%.

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