There was a surprise late afternoon announcement from the government on Friday. A new interim CEO has been appointed for the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation.

Sharon Sparkes most recently served as senior vice-president and chief financial officer. She replaces Stephen Winter after 14 years of service. The independent appointments commission will seek a permanent replacement.

The provincial government would not provide further information on why Winter left.

“Effective today, Ms. Sharon Sparkes is replacing Stephen Winter on an interim basis as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation,” Finance Minister Tom Osborne said in a statement.

“Ms. Sparkes has a proven track record and significant knowledge of the operation, and will help transition the organization as the Independent Appointments Commission seeks a permanent replacement to carry the company into the future. She will be instrumental as the NLC prepares to take on the expanded role of regulating and distributing cannabis.

“I want to thank Mr. Winter for his 14 years of service to the NLC, and wish him the best in all future endeavours.”