Melinta CEO Johnson exits amid 'changing circumstances'

exit
John Johnson stepped up as Melinta’s interim CEO in October 2018, after Dan Wechsler—who took the helm after Melinta merged with Cempra in 2017—departed. He became the full-time CEO two months later. (Christian Guiton/iStock)

John Johnson, Melinta’s fourth CEO in as many years, is stepping down, along with Kevin Ferro, the chairman of the board. Johnson will stay on for at least the next month, while David Gill, another board member, will replace Ferro. 

Johnson will serve as interim CEO over the next 30 days and help the company find his successor, Melinta said in a statement. Once the new CEO is in place, Johnson will continue as an adviser to Melinta for at least six months. 

Details around Johnson’s exit were thin, but the antibiotics player said in a statement that Johnson “voluntarily” resigned as president and CEO “due to changes in the Company’s circumstances and in order to pursue other opportunities.” Melinta did not specify what those changes were, but the company did delay its second-quarter earnings release from Wednesday to Friday and cancel the accompanying conference call with analysts. 

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Though Melinta outpaced its revenues from the same quarter the previous year, it’s still struggling to pay its debts on time, said Melinta Chief Financial Officer Peter Milligan in the company’s earnings statement on Friday. 

RELATED: Melinta's CEO steps down amid a big Phase III push 

"We are encouraged with the progress we have made toward our financial stewardship goals and product sales revenue growth. However, we continue to face significant risk relative to near-term compliance with the Company’s financial commitments and covenants under its credit and convertible notes facilities,” Milligan said. 

Melinta is working with its creditors to figure out a path forward, he said. 

RELATED: Melinta merges with faltering Cempra, bagging a Nasdaq listing and a pipeline of anti-infective programs 

Johnson stepped up as Melinta’s interim CEO in October 2018, after Dan Wechsler—who took the helm after Melinta merged with Cempra in 2017—departed. He became the full-time CEO two months later. 

“On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Kevin for his contributions to the Company,” said Gill, Melinta’s new chairman, in the statement. “The Board and I also want to thank John for his dedication and service as a long-standing board member and most recently for his leadership and stepping into the CEO position during a very challenging time for the Company and antibiotics industry as a whole.”

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