Chutes & Ladders—Parexel co-founder ends 35-year run as CEO


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.

Parexel’s co-founder steps down after 35 years at the reins

Josef von Rickenbach

Joseph von Rickenbach retires from CEO post.

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It is the end of an era and the dawn of a new one at Parexel. Joseph von Rickenbach, who co-founded the CRO in 1982 and has been its CEO and chairman since, will retire from the daily CEO duties. Over the past 35 years, he has led the company through its IPO in 1995 and more than 40 M&As. Now a private company through a $5 billion deal last year, it is one of the world’s largest CROs. “I wish I were 25 years younger, I wish I could do it all over again,” he said. Von Rickenbach’s long tenure draws comparison to Fred Eshelman of PPD and Dennis Gillings of Quintiles. Jamie Macdonald, who was CEO of INC Research from 2013 to 2016, will take over. FierceCRO

Roche promotes Pao to replace departing Reed as pRED head

William Pao

William Pao, M.D., Ph.D., was named head of pharma research and early development.

John Reed, M.D., Ph.D., is leaving Roche for personal reasons, and William Pao, M.D., Ph.D., has been promoted to replace Reed as head of pRED. Reed came to pRED in 2013, at a time when Roche was reeling from failures. Given the lag between early research and approval, it’s still early to see the legacy of Reed. Pao arrived at Roche in 2014 in his current role as global head of the oncology discovery and translational area within pRED. His appointment could be interpreted as a sign of Roche’s focus on cancer immunotherapies and targeted drugs. FierceBiotech

Moderna’s vaccines head jumps to stealth-mode biotech startup

Moderna logo
Giuseppe Ciaramella

Giuseppe Ciaramella left as CSO of infectious diseases.

Infectious disease vaccines are Moderna’s most advanced programs, but Giuseppe Ciaramella, the leader overseeing those projects, has just left. Ciaramella, who has experience at AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer and Merck, joined the mRNA unicorn in 2014 and was tasked to lead the vaccines sector in 2015. His departure, on top of three key R&D exits last year, could add to questions around the biotech’s technology, as early-stage programs against influenza and Zika will have readouts later this year. FierceVaccines

> Daphne Koller left Alphabet's supersecretive Calico Labs as chief computing officer, not long after the company's former R&D chief Hal Barron jumped ship to become GlaxoSmithKline's CSO. FierceBiotech

> Nimbus Therapeutics' founding CSO Rosana Kapeller stepped down. She helped Nimbus land deals with Celgene, Genentech and Gilead. FierceBiotech

> After bringing on Pfizer executive John Davis, M.D., as CMO, 2017 Fierce 15 winner Magenta Therapeutics promoted Christina Isacson, Ph.D., to CBO, and Tony Boitano, Ph.D., to VP of stem cell biology. Additionally, it made Meg Woods head of culture and people, and Catherine Monaghan head of clinical development operations. Release

> Aya Jakobovits, Ph.D., founder of cell therapy startup and 2016 Fierce 15 winner Adicet Bio, retired from her position as president and CEO. FierceBiotech

> Christiana Stamoulis, Unum’s CFO and head of corporate development since 2015, added president to her title, as company prepares for an IPO. Release | Read more on FierceBiotech

> Adam Kesselman, who used to manage global marketing and commercialization plans for vaccines at Pfizer, joined Health Union as SVP of corporate development. Release

> Transdermal drug delivery expert Medherant appointed David Davies as head of development. Release

> TissueTech, which develops amniotic tissue-based products, hired Allergan veteran Adrian Roji as CCO. Release