Bruce Linton says he was fired as co-CEO of Canadian pot company Canopy Growth

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Bruce Linton, co-CEO of Canopy Growth, said he was fired from the Canadian pot company he founded in 2013 in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday.

Canopy, the world’s largest publicly traded cannabis company by market value, earlier Wednesday announced in a press release that Linton was removed as co-chief executive officer and a member of the board, effective immediately. Mark Zekulin, who had been co-CEO with Linton, becomes the sole CEO while the company searches for a replacement.

Linton called into CNBC and said he was fired.

“I think stepping down might not be the right phrase,” he said, referring to the language in the company press release. “I was terminated.”

Linton built Canopy into a cannabis powerhouse, signing partnerships with celebrities such as Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart while pursuing deals including an investment from spirits giant Constellation Brands and an acquisition of U.S.-based Acreage Holdings. News of his departure shook investors, initially sending shares down about 5%.

Canopy shares recovered their losses, gaining 2.5% on Wednesday, as analysts called the leadership shake-up the right move to help the company mature and eventually become profitable. [Read more at CNBC]