Chicago-based Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertical multistate cannabis operators in the U.S., is losing a key member of its C-suite. David Ellis, who first came on board in 2015 and served the last four years as chief operating officer, has resigned. As reported several months ago, Ty Gent has been tapped as Cresco’s new COO. As for Ellis’ other role as regional president, operations—emerging markets, a replacement has not yet been named.

According to a news announcement, Ellis is leaving to “explore new opportunities in the burgeoning cannabis and tech industries.” However, when asked for the reasons behind his departure, Ellis was a little more expansive albeit vague.

“I’m exploring options in both the private and public side of the industry and going to go where I can add the most value internally and externally,” he said through his spokesperson. “My goal is to take on a role that is broader than just ownership of operations and expand into the commercial side of the business and industry, using my knowledge of the consumer, market dynamics and form factors that drive revenue and brand positioning to create accretive value to the organization I join.” Sounds like he wants to be more than a COO.

During his tenure at Cresco Labs, Ellis scored a number of accomplishments. As COO, he oversaw operations across nine states, being responsible for over 900,000 square feet of facilities and more than 800 employees. Also, he was instrumental in growing the company’s cultivation space across three Illinois facilities. And, he was a “driving force” behind the creation of Mindy’s brand for which he engaged the award winning-chief Mindy Segal to conjure up artisanal edibles.

Ellis, who was one of the company’s first hires, expressed a mix of satisfaction and pride at what he was able to achieve at Cresco Labs as well as being part of a thriving company culture.

“I leave with a great sense of pride having worked with such a talented, dedicated and pioneering team of professionals,” Ellis said, in a public statement. “I look forward to seeing Cresco continue to grow, and I’m excited to explore my next chapter in cannabis as well.”

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Ellis was named COO of Cresco Labs in June 2017, according to his LinkedIn page. Prior to joining Cresco Labs, Ellis was the president and CEO Greens & Gills Inc, a commercial aquaponic farm. There he launched a CPG brand and a host of leafy green products in retail locations across the Midwest. And before that, he was vice president of business development at Performance Marketing Inc. in Milwaukee.

He attended Emory University but did not graduate.

On his LinkedIn page, a colleague from Cresco Labs offered this glowing testimonial of Ellis: “My time under David has been a weird and unexpected mix of leadership and collaboration. It’s rare that a supervisor listens closely enough to value contributions and manages to guide and direct at the same time. David is the executive leader that inspires both loyalty and the urge to dig deeper to find success.”

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