Gilead CEO John Milligan leaves

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After less than three years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Milligan
  • Search for a successor
  • Milligan said 63 words

(exechange) — Foster City, California, July 25, 2018 — John Milligan, chief executive of Gilead, leaves. As announced by Gilead Sciences, Inc. in a news release on Wednesday, July 25, 2018, John F. Milligan leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the biopharmaceutical company after less than three years in the role, effective December 31, 2018.

No company wants a CEO to flame out in the first years.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months was 9.4 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 20 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position within three years.

Gilead will undertake a search for a successor.

“A good time to turn the reins over to a new leader”

Milligan’s departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Milligan said: “[N]ow that the company is on solid footing for the future, the Board and I have agreed it is a good time to turn the reins over to a new leader.”

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

“Step down”

Gilead said: “John F. Milligan, PhD, will step down as President and Chief Executive Officer after a 28-year career with the company.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Gilead Sciences, Inc. since June 2015.

Chaired by John C. Martin

Gilead Sciences, Inc. is chaired by John C. Martin.

Martin joined Gilead Sciences in 1990 and was appointed Executive Chairman in March 2016. He served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from June 2008 through March 2016 and President and Chief Executive Officer from 1996 through May 2008.

Martin has announced his intent to step down from the Board at the time a new CEO joins the company, having determined that this would be a natural transition point from his successive roles as CEO, Executive Chairman and Chairman.

In the position of CEO since 2016

Milligan has been the Chief Executive Officer at Gilead Sciences, Inc. since March 10, 2016.

Milligan was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Gilead in March 2016.

He was appointed President in 2008, and served as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer from 2007 to 2016.

He previously held multiple leadership roles within Gilead, including the position of Chief Financial Officer from 2002 to 2007.

During his tenure at Gilead, Milligan has led teams that have developed, manufactured and commercialized more than 20 new therapies for significant unmet needs.

He has managed multiple transformative acquisitions, licensing agreements and financings, helping the company grow into a worldwide organization reaching more than 11 million patients.

He is a member of the board of directors of Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc.

He is also a Trustee of Ohio Wesleyan University.

Milligan received his BA from Ohio Wesleyan University, his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Illinois and was an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at San Francisco.

Milligan will also step down from the Gilead Board of Directors at the end of the year.


As a general rule, when a top leader announces to step aside with no successor in place, it is a sign that the move was unplanned and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered John Milligan’s 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 31.2018 ($).