- Gilead said Wednesday its chief scientific officer, chief patient officer and executive vice president of human resources will depart within the next few months, as CEO Daniel O'Day continues to reshape the company's top ranks since arriving in March.
- John McHutchison, chief scientific officer and head of R&D, will step down on Aug. 2, nearly 18 months after his appointment to the roles. The company described his exit as a voluntary departure, and will pay $1.1 million to the outgoing executive. A search for his replacement is now underway.
- On Sept. 1, Katie Watson will leave her leadership position in HR, with an internal successor already named. Chief Patient Officer Gregg Alton will depart on Oct. 4 after two decades at Gilead. Alton and McHutchison will both serve in advisory roles to the company until year's end.
An executive shake-up appears to be part of the plan as O'Day begins his work in turning around Gilead, which has seen its revenue sharply drop as sales from its hepatitis C drugs have declined for three straight years. The biotech expects total sales to dip again in 2019.
Since O'Day started in March as CEO, news of executive departures has come frequently from the Foster City, California-based biotech. On his first earnings call for Gilead in May, O'Day said ensuring the company has "the right people in the right roles" is an immediate priority.
Michael Yee, an analyst for Jefferies who covers Gilead, told BioPharma Dive the executive changes are not surprising, as the biotech goes through an overhaul with the new O'Day administration.
"For the stock that's probably a good thing given the last few years of challenges," Yee wrote Wednesday in an email to BioPharma Dive. "Still takes time but they're turning it around and building for the new Gilead."
The first executive change came only a few days after O'Day started, when Gilead's head of oncology Alessandro Riva said he would leave. His departure was not connected with O'Day beginning in his role as CEO, the biotech said at the time.
In his two years at Gilead, Riva oversaw the $12 billion buy of Kite Pharma and the launch of CAR-T cell therapy Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel). Earlier this year, O'Day announced that Kite would function as an independent unit within Gilead, and last week the company named an Eli Lilly executive as Kite's new CEO.
With the departures announced Wednesday, Gilead's top five executives from last year will all be gone by early 2020, when longtime Chief Financial Officer Robin Washington will leave her role.
O'Day will lead his second earnings call for Gilead on July 30, when the company releases second quarter financial results.
A biotech in transition
|Departing executive||Date of departure||Gilead tenure||Successor?|
|Norbert Bischofberger, chief scientific officer||April 2018||28 years||John McHutchison|
|Andrew Cheng, chief medical officer||September 2018||19 years||Unnamed|
|John Milligan, CEO||December 2018||28 years||Daniel O'Day|
|John Martin, board chairman||March 2019||28 years||Daniel O'Day|
|Alessandro Riva, head of oncology||March 2019||2 years||Unnamed|
|Laura Hamill, chief commercial officer||July 1, 2019||10 months||Johanna Mercier|
|John McHutchison, chief scientific officer||Aug. 2, 2019 ||9 years||Unnamed|
|Katie Watson, executive vice president of human resources||Sept. 1, 2019||16 years||Jyoti Mehra|
|Gregg Alton, chief patient officer||Oct. 4, 2019||20 years||Unnamed|
|Robin Washington, CFO||March 2020||11 years||Unnamed|
SOURCE: Company releases