Ex-Coke, Coors executive takes reins of Canadian marijuana company

A burgeoning cannabis producer with aspirations of being a global leader has appointed a longtime Coke and Molson Coors executive as its new CEO.

Torsten Kuenzlen took the helm of Alberta-based Sundial Growers this week.

The move illustrates how Canadian cannabis companies are luring top international talent to fill C-Suite executive positions, as the stigma of running cannabis companies evaporates.

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International retailer of medical cannabis supplies Namaste Technologies, for example, also nominated board members who played key roles with SpaceX, Tesla, PayPal, Google and Seagram’s International this week.

Kuenzlen held a variety of executive roles at The Coca-Cola Co. for 17 years.

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He was also global chief commercial officer for Molson Coors International in Colorado.

Kuenzlen hopes to leverage his experience at two of the world’s top packaged consumer goods businesses to make Sundial a leading international cannabis company.

There “can be no doubt” that more tie-ups between alcohol and cannabis companies, he says.

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“We know that virtually all alcohol companies are very carefully looking at the cannabis space and looking to partner in some shape or form,” Kuenzlen told Marijuana Business Daily.

“Those shapes can be anything from innovation alliances with pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals and all the way to partial ownership.

“Today, alcohol companies are buying cannabis companies. We will see a time when cannabis companies start buying alcohol companies.

“Definitely within the next three to five years.”

Sundial is privately owned. Vancouver, British Columbia-based Namaste Technologies is traded on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol N.

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]

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