Quotient CEO Paul Cowan leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • Accolades, praise and thanks for Cowan
  • Franz Walt taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor
  • Cowan spoke at length and said 192 words

(exechange) — Jersey, Channel Islands, March 26, 2018 — Paul Cowan, chief executive of Quotient, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Quotient Limited in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, March 26, 2018, Paul Cowan has left his post as Chief Executive Officer at the commercial-stage diagnostics company, effective March 21, 2018.

Quotient will undertake a search for a successor.

Cowan’s duties were taken over in the interim by Franz Walt, most recently President of Siemens Healthineers, Laboratory Diagnostics.

Already a director

Walt is already a director of Quotient. Often a board member is a last resort, someone who is turned to in desperation when a company cannot find suitable candidates. On the other hand, directors-turned-executives represent a blend of outsider and insider.

They don’t have the constraints of a pure insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions, and they have more company knowledge than a pure outsider.

Having been a director, Walt understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of Quotient’s organization, risk-management practices and strategy.

“A different skills set is now required”

Cowan’s sudden departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Heino von Prondzynski, Quotient’s lead independent director, said in a fairly blunt statement: “Recognizing that a different skills set is now required of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Paul recently told the Board he wanted to retire as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.”

Precise information about Cowan’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Retirement/resigned”

Quotient said: “Quotient Limited … today announced the retirement of Paul Cowan as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.”

Quotient further said: “On March 26, 2018, Quotient Limited … announced that, in connection with Paul Cowan’s retirement, Mr. Cowan has resigned from his positions with the Company, including as chief executive officer and as a director, on March 21, 2018.”

“Not a result of any disagreement”

“Mr. Cowan’s decision to retire from the Company is not a result of any disagreement with other members of the Company’s Board of Directors,” Quotient said.

It is a phrase that may be intended to prevent false rumors. It may also fuel further speculation and raise more questions than it answers. Such a phrase should be read very carefully. The exact wording may be insightful.

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Quotient Limited since December 2015.

Cowan founded the Company through the acquisition of Alba Bioscience in 2007

Paul Cowan was the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Company’s Board of Directors.

Cowan founded the Company through the acquisition of Alba Bioscience in 2007.

He has a broad range of healthcare industry experience gained through over 16 years of employment within industry and investment banking.

Previously, Cowan served as the Chief Financial Officer of Inveresk Research Group, a global contract research organization acquired by Charles River Laboratories in 2004.

Prior to joining Inveresk in 2001, Cowan was a senior executive within the Investment Banking department of Bear Stearns & Co., where he led its European biotechnology practice.

Prior to Bear Stearns, Cowan was a senior executive within the Investment Banking department of Morgan Grenfell (acquired by Deutsche Bank in 1990).

Cowan received a Bachelor of Business in accounting from Queensland University of Technology.

Heino von Prondzynski, former Chief Executive Officer of Roche Diagnostics, Quotient’s lead independent director, has been appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Heino von Prondzynski has over 35 years of experience in global Healthcare companies. He is a renowned molecular diagnostic expert. Under his leadership Roche Diagnostics has developed into the leading global diagnostic company. He also serves on the Board of Royal Philips.

Unplanned

As a general rule, when a top manager announces to step aside with no permanent successor available, it is a signal that the change was unplanned and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Paul Cowan’s sudden move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 14.2018 ($).