Clearside CEO Daniel White leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After almost eight years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for White
  • George Lasezkay taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Alpharetta, Georgia, April 8, 2019 — Daniel White, chief executive of Clearside, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Clearside Biomedical Inc. in a news release on Monday, April 8, 2019, Daniel H. White leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the biopharmaceutical company after almost eight years in the role, effective immediately.

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 7.8 years, according to data compiled by exechange.

Daniel White’s move comes 14 months after William Humphries took over as Chairman of Clearside Biomedical, Inc.

Clearside will undertake a search for a successor.

Daniel White’s duties will be taken over in the interim by George M. Lasezkay, a former Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Acucela Inc., as Interim Chief Executive Officer.

Already a director

Lasezkay is already a director of Clearside. 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, Lasezkay understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of Clearside’s organization, risk-management practices and strategy.

“To pursue other opportunities”

Daniel White’s sudden departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Clearside said: “Dr. Lasezkay, a current member of the Clearside Board of Directors, succeeds Daniel H. White, who resigned as President and CEO and as a member of the Board of Directors to pursue other opportunities.”

The phrase “to pursue other opportunities” opens the door to speculation.

Precise information regarding Daniel White’s future plans was not immediately available.

Wake-up call

Generally speaking, it is often an alarm signal for shareholders when a CEO leaves the position abruptly and without a reasonable explanation.

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in Clearside Biomedical, Inc.’s share price of 90 percent since May 2018.

Chaired by William Humphries

Clearside Biomedical, Inc. is chaired by William Humphries.

Humphries has served as a director of the Company since January 2012 and became the chairman of the Company’s board of directors in February 2018. Since January 2017, he has served as Executive Vice President, Ortho Dermatologic.

In the position of CEO since 2011

White is the founder of the Company and has served as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Company’s board of directors since the Company’s inception in May 2011.

From 2008 to 2011, White served as Executive Director, Global Corporate Development, for Stiefel Laboratories, Inc., a dermatology pharmaceutical company acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in 2009.

From 2007 to 2008, he co-founded and served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Percept BioScience, Inc., a biotechnology company.

In 2003, White co-founded, and until 2007 served as Vice President of Finance and Corporate Development of Alimera Sciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on ophthalmology.

Previously, he was Head of Business Development and Licensing for CIBA Vision, a Novartis company, and Director of Licensing and Business Development for AAIPharma.

White holds an M.B.A. degree from Wake Forest University and a B.S. degree in Molecular Biology from Auburn University.

Unexpected

As a general rule, when a top leader announces to step down with no permanent successor available, it is a sign that the change was unexpected and too early.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the likelihood that Daniel White was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position.

exechange reached out to Clearside and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 15.2019 ($).