Chutes & Ladders—Johnson & Johnson’s longest-serving CFO to retire

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Chutes and Ladders

Welcome to this week's Chutes and Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word—or the bad—from your shop to Angus Liu (email), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Dominic Caruso, J&J’s CFO behind 3 major acquisitions, to retire

Johnson and Johnson SmallLogo
Dominic Caruso

Johnson & Johnson
Dominic Caruso to retire as CFO.

Dominic Caruso, Johnson & Johnson’s longest-serving CFO in the company’s 132-year history, will retire in September. He came to J&J in 1999 through the acquisition of Centocor and became CFO in 2007. Under his leadership, the company completed three of its largest acquisitions, namely the $30 billion deal for Actelion in 2017, the $21.3 billion acquisition of orthopedic device-maker Synthes completed in 2012, and the $16.6 billion all-cash transaction for Pfizer’s previous consumer healthcare business. Joseph Wolk, currently VP of J&J’s investor relations, will replace Caruso on July 1. Wolk has been with J&J for 19 years and was once CFO of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies. Release

CVS hires longtime Lilly CFO to run its PBM business

CVS caremark

CVS Caremark
Derica Rice will become president soon.

It was only last week when UnitedHealth tapped Andrew Witty to oversee its pharmacy benefits manager unit Optum. Now, former Eli Lilly CFO Derica Rice is joining CVS Health as president of its PBM group CVS Caremark. Rice had spent 27 years with Lilly before retiring as CFO at the end of 2017. Renewed attention on drug pricing has put the pharma industry and PBMs in a finger-pointing game. PBMs say they save the healthcare system money, but pharmas say rebates and discounts to middlemen are growing. Rice’s appointment came as CVS works to complete its $69 deal for insurer Aetna. FiercePharma

Former FDA informatics leader joins Amazon on a secretive healthcare team

Taha Kass-Hout

Taha Kass-Hout, M.D., joined Amazon on a healthcare role.

Taha Kass-Hout, M.D., was the FDA’s former chief health informatics officer who led the openFDA initiative that enabled the public to access adverse event data and other records held by the agency. He also oversaw the precisionFDA program, which is an open platform for next-generation sequencing assay evaluation and regulatory science exploration. Report emerged that he has been hired by Amazon to work on its secret health tech team Grand Challenge. His title, as the details of the project, is unclear. Speculation has it that he will again be looking to help consumers get easier access to health records. FierceMedTech

> Jennifer Zachary will succeed General Electric-heading Michael J. Holston as Merck's general counsel, effective April 16. Release

> Alder BioPharmaceuticals' co-founder and CEO Randall Schatzman, Ph.D., stepped down as the company nears a BLA for its anti-CGRP migraine drug. FierceBiotech

> Gritstone Oncology hired Jayant Aphale, Ph.D., as EVP of technical operations. He previously served senior roles at Sarepta, GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines, Acambis and Wyeth Vaccines. Release

> Affimed has lured Big Pharma veteran Leila Alland, M.D., away from Novo-backed Tarveda Therapeutics to serve as its CMO. FierceBiotech

> CNS-focused Origenis named Peter Seufer-Wasserthal, Ph.D., as CBO. The company is looking to raise $30 million series A to advance its pipeline. Release

> Clinical trial patient recruitment specialist Clinerion tapped ex-IQVIA executive Ian Rentsch to succeed Ulf Claesson as its CEO. FierceCRO

> Sucampo Pharmaceuticals' CCO Jason Meyenburg left to take the same title at Orchard Therapeutics, which also brought on John Ilett as general counsel. Release

> Anti-infective agents developer Nabriva Therapeutics appointed recent Shire executive Jennifer Schranz, M.D., as CMO. Release

> Synteract brought on Mary Mattes as SVP of biometrics and drug safety. She joins from senior level roles in biometrics and data management at Accelovance and PRA Health Sciences. Release

> ProLung appointed Rex Yung, M.D., former director of pulmonary oncology and director of bronchoscopy at Johns Hopkins University, as its CSO. Release

> Vifor Pharma's former CEO Søren Tulstrup joined Hansa Medical as president and CEO. Release

> Trinity Orthopedics' recent president and CEO, Ronald Giannotti, jumped to global life sciences and healthcare executive recruiting firm Toft Group Executive Search as COO. Release