Peter Aceto didn’t just lose his job as head of CannTrust Holdings Inc.: he likely lost out on about $8.2 million in stock options, among the highest pay packages in the pot sector.
CannTrust fired Aceto, and chairman Eric Paul was asked to resign Thursday after a Globe and Mail report cited internal emails showing the executives were aware that pot was being grown in unlicensed rooms about seven months before Health Canada unearthed the breach.
Aceto’s stock options will likely be canceled, as typically happens when an executive is fired with cause. Even if they’re not canceled, the possibilities remain well underwater following the recent stock plunge related to the licensing scandal.
According to the options awarded to Aceto when he joined the company in October, a third was to be vested annually in one-third increments, with two-thirds to be vested based on achieving share price milestones of $15 to $25 over three years. CannTrust traded at about $3 on Friday, well short of Aceto’s strike price of $11.88 for his 1 million options.
Aceto’s pay package trailed Brendan Kennedy among major pot company executives. Tilray Inc. CEO awarded total compensation of US$256 million in 2018, ranking him second to Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk at US$513 million, among pay tracked by Bloomberg. By comparison, former Canopy Growth Ltd. CEO Bruce Linton awarded $2.5 million, and Michael Gorenstein at Cronos Group Inc. granted $824,842. Terry Booth at Aurora Cannabis Inc. was awarded $1.6 million, according to company filings.