Numerous executives in mainstream companies are jumping ship and going to work in the cannabis industry. The latest defection is PayPal’s Global Head of Social and Digital Media David Peck who is leaving to become the Chief Marketing Officer at KIND Financial.
KIND is a cannabis compliance tech company that can provide end to end solutions for companies in the industry. Its Agrisoft software tracks plants from seed to sale and the KIND handles point-of-sale order taking and cash management. It also has a division that works with the government to comply with regulations.
“I have always been an early adopter in life and in my career,” said Peck. As a father of five children, Peck told the family he would be helping the cannabis companies follow the law and wouldn’t be focused on the plant. “My role at KIND and the company itself is not focused on the product necessarily. It’s focused on compliance and providing an ecosystem of finance and compliance solutions to make the entire business lifecycle easier.”
At PayPal, Peck oversaw the company’s social strategy and influencer relations, and also led the development and execution of integrated digital marketing. He is also the author of “Think Before You Engage: 100 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Social Media Marketing Campaign.”
Peck is joining a steady of migration of C-suite executives looking for a way to get in on the ground floor of a new industry. One example is Lance Galey, the Chief Technology Officer of cannabis social media site MassRoots who was the Principal Cloud Architect at Microsoft and previously held the same position at Autodesk and Salesforce.
Indoor grower and cultivator company Terra Tech cofounders Derek Peterson and Mike Nahass both came from very high paying jobs at Morgan Stanley. Anthony Smith Ph.D., the Chief Science Office of Signal Bay, a company that provides testing and general business consulting for cannabis companies, was Chief Science Officer at Biomed Diagnostics. The cofounder and COO, Lori Glauser, was also a Senior Manager with Ernst & Young and a Senior Consultant with IBM before that.
Sally Vander Veer, the President of Medicine Man, the largest dispensary in Colorado, spent 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry working for Parke-Davis and Pfizer on R&D and clinical trial development. Levo, a machine that is used to infuse butters and oils with cannabis–and other herbs–was founded by Christina Bellman, who left her job at IBM to start the company in 2011.
All of these executives clearly felt there was an opportunity in the alternative industry to make their mark. They were all willing to leave behind jobs in the mainstream corporate world for a business whose main product is still federally illegal.