February 21, 2019 – Executive search firm Protis Global has placed a new president for Therabis, a maker of cannabidiol (CBD) wellness products for pets. Bob Rubin becomes the new leader for the Denver-based company, a subsidiary of Dixie Brands.
“Working with Dixie has been a distinct pleasure,” said Frank Judd, director of client accounts for Portis Global. “Their leadership has a keen grasp on their talent needs and they are very deliberate with how that talent can and should make an impact on their business. It’s been especially rewarding to provide Dixie with the talent that’s going to get them there. Bob Rubin is no exception to that rule. His robust background and knowledge in the pet space, mixed with his ability to build and grow brands, was a clear fit for Therabis.”
Mr. Rubin previously served as CEO and president for Solid Gold Pet, a natural and holistic pet food company. In that role, he repositioned the brand and led expansion into China. “His focus and passion for wellness within the pet industry is inherent and something that bleeds through in his leadership,” said Portis Global.
Under Mr. Rubin’s leadership, the Therabis brand will continue a national roll-out and a large-scale expansion into retail as well as continued growth of its e-commerce sales, said the search firm. CBD is a non-intoxicating marijuana extract.
Miami-based Protis Global has partnered with Dixie Brands on several searches to date. Samantha Ford, senior vice president of business development for Portis Global’s cannabis division, said she was impressed when she saw Dixie Brands CEO Chuck Smith speak at a Canaccord Genuity conference last year and knew instantly he would be one of the biggest cannabis industry leaders. “Chuck is a smart leader,” said Ms. Ford. “He has a track record for successfully building businesses while maintaining the ability to be engaging and approachable. He is dynamic and charismatic and naturally instills confidence in everyone who considers working for or investing in Dixie.”
Protis Global is an affiliate of MRI Network, specializing in executive placement within the FMCG, hospitality, IT and banking industries.
Last year, Protis Global added Ms. Ford, a Wall Street veteran, to the firm as senior vice president of business development for the newly created cannabis division in the San Francisco Bay area.
Ms. Ford has over 20 years of established relationships from Wall Street, and from key growth sectors nationally. She has a track record of adding value in new growth sectors, advising both corporate clients and their prospective hires on the benefits of moving into a rewarding new role with exciting companies vying for market leadership. She was charged with leveraging this experience not only at Protis, but also through Women Leaders in Cannabis, an organization that connects and provides a network of support for women in the cannabis industry.
Executive Search for the Marijuana Field
“We are thrilled to have the expertise and deep relationships that Samantha brings to our over 23 years of delivering talent and advisory to our corporate clients in the FMCG space, primarily in the food & beverage industries,” said Bert Miller, CEO of Protis Global. “She has developed a strong foothold and understanding of the burgeoning cannabis industry in the U.S. and Canada,” he said. “This dovetails extremely well with our practice and consulting methodology, and filling critical positions for our clients as they enter new phases of growth.”
Protis Global Strengthens Capabilities to Serve Cannabis Sector
Legal marijuana is now a near $7 billion business in the U.S., which means it is only natural that we will see recruiting firms focusing on bringing talent to this booming sector. Just recently, Protis Global added Wall Street veteran Samantha Ford to its executive search and advisory firm as…
Talent deficits exist in every industry. But the marijuana field is exceptionally short on senior-level leaders who can come in and cross-pollinate their functional and industry skill-sets. One search consultant, Dan Ogden, jumped on this opportunity early. The recruiting firm he founded, Delta 9 Search, is devoted exclusively to finding senior-level executives for the cannabis industry.
Before selling out the business to partners last year, he served as Delta 9’s principal and practice lead. Mr. Ogden became something of a recruitment pioneer for what is expected to be a venerable, job-producing $21 billion industry within the next few years. And right now, it is short on senior-level talent who can cross-pollinate their functional and industry skills-sets. While it’s relatively easy to find staffing agencies to recruit employees for retail and junior roles in the pot industry, Delta 9 is devoted to identifying harder-to-find executive-level talent for the field.
Right now, what the cannabis industry needs most is time to mature, so say recruiting specialists pioneering in the field. On the one hand, there is a public perception connecting marijuana with the well-worn stoner image. Recruiters therefore believe it is going to take a bit of doing to build the perception of cannabis as a true stand-alone industry and not the realm of a bunch of hippies.
Likewise, it will take a while for the marijuana industry itself to accept executive search. Indeed, search firms focused on the sector have plenty of challenges ahead. “We are not yet at the point where the cannabis industry as a whole has recognized the value of using an external search firm,” Mr. Ogden admitted. “Elements of it have. But I think it needs a little more maturation to get to the point where it’s more of an accepted concept.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media