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NB Liquor and Cannabis NB CEO resigns, taking job with privately-owned marijuana producer

NB Liquor Presidetn and CEO Brian Harriman is leaving his job.
NB Liquor Presidetn and CEO Brian Harriman is leaving his job. File/Global News

Brian Harriman has been at the helm of NB Liquor since he was recruited by the Crown corporation in 2014 and most recently he led the creation of Cannabis NB, but after a lengthy career in the alcohol industry, Harriman is headed to where the “grass is a little “greener.”

READ MORE: Cannabis NB CEO reports steady business as retail marijuana outlets open

“It has been a tremendous pleasure to have had the opportunity to lead the evolution at NB Liquor and to have had the opportunity to lead the creation of Cannabis NB,” said Harriman.

“I am extremely proud of what my teams have been able to achieve over the past five years and I thank them for their dedication, support and commitment to delivering a world-class retail experience for the people of New Brunswick.

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Harriman is headed to Calgary where he’s accepted a position as the chief operating officer of Sundial Growers, a privately-owned marijuana producer.

The 42-year-old helped NB Liquor launch a new brand with new store concepts and channels of distribution.

“On behalf of the board of directors, I thank Brian for his enormous contribution to NB Liquor and to the Province of New Brunswick,” said Rachelle Gagnon, chair of the corporation’s board.

“We are all extremely proud of Brian and his accomplishments and congratulate him on this exciting appointment.”

WATCH: New Brunswickers spent over $8 million on pot in just four months

New Brunswickers spent over $8 million on pot in just four months
New Brunswickers spent over $8 million on pot in just four months

Harriman is also being credited for making improvements in customer and employee satisfaction and was one of the first high-paying employees, not politically appointed.

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“We need to ensure that we don’t step back into the old ways of putting, making political appointments of political friends of high-paying jobs for running Crown corporations,” said David Coon, the leader of the province’s Green Party.

READ MORE: Cannabis NB officials pleased with opening day sales

But the untimely resignation comes at a time when cannabis sales in the province are falling short of projections by as much as 50 per cent. There have been supply shortages, and restructuring has led to layoffs and store closures.

It’s raising a few eyebrows in the province’s capital city.

“I think a CEO of NB Liquor that makes between $275,000 to $300,000 a year, to resign, doesn’t do so lightly. And I’m kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop,” said People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin.

The board of directors is establishing a search committee to recruit Harriman’s successor.