Agilent CEO Mike McMullen to retire, succeeded by lab services head

After nearly a decade in the role, Agilent Technologies CEO Mike McMullen is stepping down.

McMullen, who’s also currently president of Agilent, is set to abdicate both roles on May 1, according to an announcement the company put out Wednesday afternoon. From there, McMullen will spend a few months serving as an advisor to Agilent and to his successor until his retirement becomes final on Oct. 31.

That successor has already been selected: Padraig McDonnell, currently the president of the Agilent CrossLab group and the company's chief commercial officer, will become president and CEO on May 1, at which point he’ll also join the board of directors. In the meantime, in addition to being CEO-elect, McDonnell has also taken on the role of chief operating officer.

McMullen’s tenure with Agilent dates back to 1985—well before the company spun out of Hewlett-Packard in 1999. Before stepping into the top job, he headed up Agilent’s chemical analysis group for about half a decade. Since being named CEO in 2015, he’s led Agilent to almost triple its market capitalization and helped oversee a transformation that boosted its growth, profitability and overall culture, according to the company's announcement.

“My career with Agilent has been truly special,” he said in a statement. “Our mission of advancing the quality of life combined with an outstanding company culture, an incredibly talented team, and our ongoing record of success, are all I could’ve ever asked for during my time with this great company. I look forward to having Padraig take over and moving on to the next chapter of my life. I have no doubt that under Padraig’s leadership, the best is yet to come for Agilent.”

McDonnell, meanwhile, credited McMullen as “a great mentor.” His Agilent career, too, dates back to the HP days: After coming aboard in 1998, he worked his way up through Agilent’s sales organization before taking on leadership roles in the life science and applied markets group and the chemistries and supplies division. He was named president of the CrossLab group in May 2020 and tacked on the CCO title in late 2021.

“Padraig has been a success in every role he’s held at Agilent. I’m confident that as Agilent’s next CEO, he will continue that record of success and build on the many achievements that have been attained during Mike McMullen’s nine years as CEO,” said Koh Boon Hwee, chairman of Agilent’s board.

The switch-up at the top of Agilent’s executive team has had some downstream effects. Succeeding McDonnell as president of the CrossLab group is Angelica Riemann, previously the VP and general manager of the group’s CrossLab Services division, while McDonnell’s CCO spot will be taken by Jonah Kirkwood, Agilent’s VP of global sales. Both changes are effective immediately, with both Kirkwood and Riemann reporting to McDonnell in their new roles.