Abeona CEO Carsten Thiel leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After less than one year in the position
  • João Siffert taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — New York, November 26, 2018 — Carsten Thiel, chief executive of Abeona, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Abeona Therapeutics Inc. in a news release on Monday, November 26, 2018, F.Carsten Thiel leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company after less than one year in the role, effective immediately.

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

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 9.1 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 5 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position within their first year. Around 12 percent left the position within two years, and 21 percent left the position within three years.

Abeona will undertake a search for a successor.

Carsten Thiel’s duties will be taken over in the interim by João Siffert, most recently Chief Medical Officer of Abeona Therapeutics Inc., as Interim Chief Executive Officer.

“Personal misconduct”

Carsten Thiel’s sudden departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Abeona said in a fairly blunt statement: “Abeona Therapeutics Inc. … today announced the immediate termination of its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Carsten Thiel due to personal misconduct that violated the Company’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics.”

Abeona further said: “Dr. Thiel’s termination follows an investigation by independent members of the Company’s Board of Directors and external counsel into allegations of misconduct towards colleagues that the Board concluded violated the Company’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and was inconsistent with its expectations for Abeona’s CEO.”

Abeona added: “Dr. Thiel’s termination is not related to the condition of the Company’s finances, operations or clinical programs, nor due to any disagreement with the Company regarding its management of financial reporting, scientific data or other practices.”

“We expect all employees, regardless of title or responsibility, to conduct themselves ethically and in accordance with company policies, and are committed to ensuring an environment of respect, integrity and ethical conduct at Abeona,” said Steven H. Rouhandeh, Chairman of the Board and Executive Chairman.

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

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in Abeona Therapeutics Inc.’s share price of 60 percent since April 2018.

Chaired by Steven Rouhandeh

Abeona Therapeutics Inc. is chaired by Steven Rouhandeh.

Steven H. Rouhandeh became the Company’s Executive Chairman, Principal Executive Officer, on January 1, 2015. Rouhandeh has been a director and Chairman of the Board since March 4, 2008.

In the position of CEO since 2018

Frank Carsten Thiel became the Company’s Chief Executive Officer on March 29, 2018.

Thiel brought 25 years of proven global biopharmaceutical industry experience, including rare and orphan diseases, to Abeona.

In his most recent position he served at Alexion Inc. as Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer responsible for global commercial operations including maximizing the inline rare disease portfolio as well as guiding the launch of anticipated new products and indications.

Prior to that he led the region Europe/Middle East/Africa and Asia Pacific as Senior Vice President, driving Alexion’s commercial build out in these regions.

Prior to joining Alexion, Thiel served as Vice President, Head of Europe at Amgen Inc.

In this role, he led regional operations and was responsible for multiple products in hematology/oncology, nephrology, and bone disorders, and prepared for new product launches in inflammation and cardiology.

He also held various other senior leadership positions at Amgen, including General Manager, Germany, and General Manager, CEE, where he led all markets in Eastern Europe and established Amgen’s operations in Russia.

He also served as Head of the Oncology franchise in Europe during the time of several blockbuster product launches.

Prior to Amgen, Thiel held several sales and marketing leadership roles across Europe at Hoffmann-Roche.

He earned his doctorate in molecular biology & biochemistry at Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany.

At the time of Carsten Thiel’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer at Abeona, Steven Rouhandeh, Executive Chairman of Abeona, had said: “As CEO, Carsten Thiel brings a unique combination of extensive experience in research and global rare disease commercialization to Abeona. In his recent positions, he successfully created value by building cohesive talented teams, driving the commercial success of multiple products globally and fostering entrepreneurial culture; all key aspects that will be critical to our success in these areas in the years ahead.”

At the time of his appointment as Chief Executive Officer at Abeona, Thiel had said: “I am thrilled to be joining Abeona during a period of major growth and momentum in the company’s range of promising development programs. I look forward to bringing my experience in business development, biomedical research and commercialization to the outstanding Abeona team at a time when the company is ideally positioned to rapidly expand these areas.”

Push-out Score determined
Read the full story in the exechange report 49.2018 ($).