Harp Sangha is stepping back from his role as CEO of Verde Science Inc.
, Stock Forum
), an emerging company in the marijuana space that trades over counter in the U.S.
But a company spokesman denied that the appointment of Ken Berscht in the CEO role is related to Sangha’s previous track record with Douglas Lake Minerals, a company that suffered large financial losses three years ago and attracted attention due to concerns about the lack of clarity in its public statements.
Verde spokesman Jim MacDonald said it was always Sangha’s plan to relinquish the day to day management role when the company entered the marijuana space and changed its name from Rango Energy last month.
“Harp knew that he would hand over the reigns to someone else,’’ MacDonald said.
That someone else is Ken Berscht a former investment advisor with Canadian brokerage firms Yorkton Securities and Canaccord Capital. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario Business School, he has been a financial advisor in England and a member of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada.
In a press release
, Verde said it has “found a dynamic and engaging leader to guide Verde through the maze of regulatory and financial hurdles in this nascent business opportunity.”
Investors reacted by sending the stock up 5.3% to 5 cents, leaving Verde with a market cap of $5.3 million, based on 106.1 million.
With Berscht up and running, Sangha said he “can now step down as CEO with confidence and assume a less day-to-day role in the company as a member of the board of directors.
Still, regulatory filings leave little doubt that he will continue to participate in any future stock market upside as Sangha was recently described as being part of a group of officers, directors and shareholders who owned 20 million shares of Rango as of April 13, 2014, just before it made the marijuana switch.
That includes the 10 million held by Sangha, regulatory filings say.
A former director and CEO of Douglas Lake from April 2006 to June 2011, Sangha resigned as CEO and President of the East Africa-focused company following reports of large financial losses that raised questions about the company’s ability to fund precious metals exploration in Tanzania.
OTC Markets Group Inc., which operates the OTC Pink Sheets quotation system, placed a “limited information” warning at the top of Douglas Lake’s trading summary page in June 2011, reflecting what it said were concerns about lack of clarity in Douglas Lake’s public statements.
Prior to making the switch to marijuana and changing its name, Rango Energy was involved in various oil drilling agreements, which it appears it was unable to fund.
That appears to have prompted the change of business, and a move to take an all-encompassing, integrated public health approach to medical marijuana, and a focus on providing services to cannabis cultivators.
On June 2, 2014, Verde Science said it will introduce state-of-the-art aeroponic growing technology to the Southern California market, and the initial site will be Sherman Oaks Holistic Oasis (SOHO), a legally licensed medical marijuana dispensary located in Los Angeles County since 2006.
It serves 1,600 patients, Verde said.
By leveraging Verde’s technical expertise, SOHO is expecting to achieve greater crop yields, resulting in substantially lower costs.