Newstrike names new marketing leadership

Sylvie Levesque's hiring as CMO comes among a number of senior appointments at the cannabis company.

Newstrike Brands, parent company of licensed producer Up Cannabis, has made a number of executive hires, including a new chief marketing officer.

Sylvie Levesque has been hired as CMO, while Mark E. Burton comes on as chief strategy officer and Trevor Folk joins as VP of new products.

Levesque will lead the go-to-market strategy for Newstrike and its portfolio of brands and products. She spent more than eight years at Treasury Estate Wines, first joining as VP of marketing for Canada in 2010 and most recently serving as general manager. She has also held marketing roles at Johnson & Johnson, Molson and Unilever.

Jean Richer, who was named SVP of sales and marketing at the company in 2017, left Newstrike at the end of 2018 to pursue a new venture.

Like many licensed producers, new product developed is a priority for Newstrike, especially as edibles and cannabis-infused food and beverages are expected to be legalized in Canada in October. The go-to-market strategy for these products has been identified as a priority for Levesque, as well as for Folk, who will be leading the development of these new products from the technical side. Folk co-founded HydRx, which specialized in developing cannabanoid derivatives and extracts, and has been tasked with leading the production behind Newstrike’s new products.

In the fall, Newstrike established a partnership with snack food company Neal Brothers to create a specialty food company that will market co-branded cannabis edibles.

Burton has previously been a CEO at a number of tech companies, as well as a partner and national practice leader at KPMG. At Newstrike, Burton will be responsible for strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, business development and product innovation, as well as Newstrike’s overall strategic direction.

The hires come as Peter Hwang, who was named chief commercial officer at Newstrike last summer, is being promoted to the role of president, operations. In his new position, Hwang will continue to lead all commercial activities in sales, marketing and operations at the company.