COO Schultz out of a job after Novo's executive shuffle

Chutes and Ladders

Welcome to this week's Chutes and Ladders, our roundup of hirings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word--or the bad--from your shop to Eric Sagonowsky (email) or Amirah Al Idrus (email | Twitter), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

COO Schultz out of a job after Novo's executive shuffle

Novo Nordisk
COO Kåre Schultz departed the company.

After expecting to eventually take the CEO seat at Novo Nordisk ($NVO), Kåre Schultz is out of a job this week amid an executive reshuffle at the company. Schultz, former president and COO, spent 26 years at the company and had been widely expected to fill the CEO role after the 61-year-old helmsman Lars Rebien Sørensen steps down; his contract expires in 2019. "It's been no secret that Mr Schultz had been looking forward to assuming my position. The board decided it wanted to have greater visibility on our corporate launches in key markets," Sørensen said during Thursday's earnings call (as quoted by Reuters). "As a consequence, the COO job disappeared." Also this week, the Danish drugmaker added U.S. commercial chief Jesper Høiland, European commercial chief Jerzy Gruhn and supply chain chief Henrik Wulff to its executive committee. Story | Release

Heeding activist investor, Ariad CEO Berger steps down

CEO Harvey Berger stepped down.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals ($ARIA) founder and CEO Harvey Berger stepped down this week, ending a months-long proxy battle fought by activist investor Alex Denner, who called for Berger's "imminent retirement" in February. After the company's sole marketed product was linked to safety issues--sinking the company's value--Denner's Sarissa Capital said it was "disturbed" by Berger's continued employment and the "egregious terms" of his latest contract. Berger spent 24 years at the Cambridge, MA, biotech, guiding it through the launch of cancer treatment Iclusig, only to see that drug pulled from the market in 2013 over safety concerns. Denner will head Ariad's CEO search committee and will "work expeditiously to find a successor." Story | Release

Ex-Sanofi exec Whitaker leaves Synta for Valeant

Anne Whitaker was named EVP. 

Ex-Sanofi ($SNY) exec and now former Synta ($SNTA) CEO Anne Whitaker joined Valeant ($VRX) this week and will serve as an executive vice president. After just 9 months at the helm of Synta Pharmaceuticals, Whitaker left the post on Monday "to pursue a professional opportunity at a large multinational pharmaceutical company," landing at Valeant by week's end. Prior to Synta, Whitaker spent three years at Sanofi and led the drugmaker's North American operation. Accompanying the Valeant announcement was the news that CFO Howard Schiller will step down after a succession process. Schiller joined Valeant in December 2011 and was appointed a director in September 2012. Story | More | Release

Amgen is adding 100 researchers in Cambridge as biotechs scout for 1,000-plus. Story

GlaxoSmithKline plans to hire 150 new employees in Costa Rica over the next 18 months. Article


Alexza Pharma ($ALXA) promoted Edwin Kamemoto to executive vice president, R&D and quality and Lori Takahashi to vice president, pharmaceutical R&D and quality. Release

Acasti Pharma ($ACST) announced the departure of André Godin, chief financial officer, effective immediately. Release

Cerespir names Sophie Egholm chief operating officer. Release

Cellular Biomedicine Group ($CBMG) appointed Dr. Scott Antonia and Guoping Fan to its scientific advisory board. Release

Harvard Bioscience ($HBIO) appoints James Green to its board of directors and announces the retirement of Robert Dishman from the board. Release

Otonomy ($OTIC) adds George Morrow to its board of directors. Release

Syros Pharma appoints Jonathan Garen as chief business officer, Christopher Roberts as vice president of chemistry and early development and Colleen DeSimone as vice president of finance and controller. Release

Tara Sadeghi joins Bio-Path ($BPTH) as director of clinical operations. Release

Yumanity Therapeutics appoints Paulash Mohsen as chief business officer. Release

RegenX Bio appoints Luke Beshar to its board of directors. Release (PDF)

Invitae appointed Dr. Robert Nussbaum as its chief medical officer. Release

La Jolla Pharmaceutical ($LJPC) brought on Dr. Lakhmir Chawla as its chief medical officer. Release

Chen Schor joined Synta ($SNTA) as the company's CEO and director. Release

Vic Myer joined Editas Medicine as its chief technology officer. Release

Amicus Therapeutics ($FOLD) hired David Allsop as the senior vice president of its international division. Release

Celsion ($CLSN) appointed Harriet Shelare as its communications director. Release

Centene brought on Dr. Ken Yamaguchi as its chief medical officer. Release

BioScrip named Jeffrey Kreger its chief financial officer. Release

Neos Therapeutics hired Thomas McDonnell as its chief commercial officer. Release

Endo International appointed Matthew Maletta as its chief legal officer. Release

Jeff Goater moved up to the position of senior vice president of finance and business development at 2014 Fierce 15 company Voyager Therapeutics. Release

TxCell appointed Stéphane Boissel as its CEO and also promoted Dr. Miguel Forte to chief operating officer. Release

Dr. Joseph Sarret joined Corium International as its chief business officer. Release

Stephen Farr joined Zogenix ($ZGNX) as the company's new CEO. Release


Shire ($SHPG) appoints Jeff Poulton as chief financial officer. He also joins the board of directors. Release

Drug Delivery

BioDelivery Sciences International ($BDSI) appointed Dr. Sarah Derossett as its vice president of clinical research and medical affairs. Release