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CEO of Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies says ‘time is right to step aside’

The CEO of Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies has announced he is stepping down from the company to pursue ‘other business interests’.

The chief executive officer of Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies Holdings plc (OCTH) – a pharmaceutical company developing prescription cannabinoid medicines – Dr John Lucas, has stepped down from his role, as of Friday 2 December. 

According to a statement from the company, Dr Lucas wishes to ‘pursue other business interests’ and feels the ‘time is right to step aside’.

Dr Lucas led the company through its IPO process in 2021 and towards its first in-human clinical trials. 

OCT’s current chief operating officer, Clarissa Sowemimo-Coker, will take over as CEO on an interim basis while the company completes its Phase I clinical trials for the lead programme, OCT461201, which are due to commence in January 2023 with results anticipated in quarter two of 2023.

Clarissa’s existing responsibilities as COO will be distributed internally and the process of recruiting a replacement general counsel and company secretary is underway. 

Dr Lucas, who will assist the company with the handover until the end of the year, commented: “I have very much enjoyed my tenure at OCTP. It has been a challenging but rewarding experience. However, I feel the time is now right to step aside. 

“I’m leaving the company in very capable hands and will be closely following its continued development. I wish the team every success in the future.”     

Julie Pomeroy, OCTP non-executive chair said Ms Sowemimo-Coker has the board’s ‘full backing’ as she leads the company through a ‘pivotal period’.

“On behalf of the Board and all the staff of OCTP, I would like to thank John for his dedication and hard work over the past several years, especially during the company’s IPO process last year and his work in steering the Group towards its first in-human clinical trials. The Board is grateful to him for his assistance with a successful transition of responsibilities to Clarissa. We wish him every success in the future,” said Ms Pomeroy.

 “I am also delighted that Clarissa has agreed to take over the role of interim CEO as we enter a new and very important phase of OCTP’s development during 2023. 

“Clarissa is already an established member of the team, having joined the Company in 2018, and has been integral in the Company’s development to date. She has the Board’s full backing and we very much look forward to working together as we lead the Company through the next stage of its development which includes the commencement of clinical trials. “

She added: “This is a pivotal period for the Company as we develop our portfolio and create value-add opportunities for investors. Clarissa will be actively engaged with shareholders to ensure they are kept up to date with our progress over this exciting period.”

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