CHILL Brands has announced a major reshuffle of its c-suite following months of turbulence and share price decline, instating a new 26-year-old CEO and seeing its CCO depart after less than six months on the job.
Callum Sommerton, who joined Chill Brands in 2021 as International Brand Director, will now take the helm seeing the companies former co-CEO’s Antonio Russo and Trevor Taylor transition into roles as CCO and COO respectively.
Meanwhile, the company’s CCO Michael Sandore, who has held the position since early January 2022, will leave ‘his position and the company effective immediately’.
The boardroom shakeup, one of the most significant in the company’s history, has so far proven popular with investors, seeing the company’s stock jump over 8% since this week.
Since Chill Brands’ dramatic fall from grace over the past year, seeing its share price drop from £1 in March 2021 to around 5p at the time of writing, investors have repeatedly raised concerns about the company’s corporate leadership and its poor investor communication.
This changing of the guard appears to be an effort to address both of these issues, and in the words of Mr Taylor, ‘guide the Company towards a … more stable future’.
When asked about the reasons behind the changes, Mr Sommerton told BusinessCann: “It’s easier to take decisive action with one person at the helm rather than two.
“This management change will allow us to get on with building brand recognition and reliable sales channels for Chill. The Company is still in start-up mode, we need everyone to roll up their sleeves and put in the work to get Chill on the map.”
In a separate interview with The Sunday Roast podcast, Mr Sommerton added that ‘we are so much further ahead now with our internal infrastructure and the way the company is set up now at 4p than we ever were at £1.’
There is also a new focus on improving investor communications, an issue BusinessCann has reported on previously, and transforming the company into ‘a shareholder-focused operation’.
Mr Sommerton explained that the only way to succeed on the public markets was to provide ‘regular updates and numbers’, adding that competitors in the UK CBD market were able to ‘significantly elevate their share price’ with a single positive RNS.
Despite the positive noises coming from the CEO, some investors have already raised concerns about the 26-year-old’s experience.
Mr Sommerton comes from a legal background, specifically intellectual property law. It is understood that he was introduced to Chill after they brought him on as an intellectual property advisor.
In February 2022, Chill announced that it was scrapping its retail ‘roll out timeline’, leaving the fate of its 2020 deal with the Asian American Trade Association (AATAC) to introduce its products to 88,000 stores fairly ambiguous.
A month earlier the company had brought in former Anheuser-Busch InBev and Juul Labs senior sales manager Michael Sandore as its new Chief Commercial Officer (CCO).
Following the news of continued delays to its retail roll out, Mr Sandore pushed the company to pivot towards ecommerce, breaking its reliance on third party distribution which has continued to dog its physical operations.
With Mr Sandore’s departure, the reasons behind which remain unclear, Mr Sommerton says this strategy will not leave with him.
He told BusinessCann: “We need to get away from viewing ecommerce and physical retail as competing channels. They feed into one another, and we need to pay attention to both.
“On retail that will mean developing more internal infrastructure to help us make a success of the stores we enter without an overreliance on external distributors. On ecommerce our focus will be on building brand recognition and creating a trusted and intuitive online platform for functional products like ours.”