Avid Bioservices CEO Roger Lias leaves

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After less than a year and a half in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Lias
  • Rick Hancock taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor
  • Lias said 64 words

(exechange) — Tustin, California, May 8, 2019 — Roger Lias, chief executive of Avid Bioservices, leaves. As announced by Avid Bioservices Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, Roger J. Lias has left his post as chief executive officer at the biotechnology company after less than a year and a half in the role, effective May 7, 2019.

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. Only 13 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position within two years, and 23 percent left the position within three years.

Avid Bioservices will undertake a search for a successor.

Roger Lias’s duties will be taken over in the interim by Richard B. (Rick) Hancock, most recently chief executive officer of Althea Technologies, Inc., as interim chief executive officer.

Already a director

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

“Track record of successfully driving significant business growth at Althea Technologies”

A reason for Roger Lias’s departure from the CEO post was not explicitly provided. Joseph Carleone, Ph.D., chairman of the Avid board of directors, said: “Avid’s board is happy to welcome Rick as interim president and CEO. … In particular, his track record of successfully driving significant business growth at Althea Technologies, a widely regarded CDMO, positions him as an excellent addition to the Avid management team at this critical time in the company’s evolution.”

Precise information regarding Roger Lias’s future plans was not immediately available.


Avid Bioservices said that Hancock “succeeds Roger J. Lias, Ph.D., who has resigned from the company and its board of directors.”

Avid Bioservices further said: “Mr. Hancock replaces Roger J. Lias, Ph.D., who resigned as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer on May 7, 2019. On the same day, Dr. Lias also resigned as a director of the Company.”

“Did not resign from his position as a director as a result of any disagreement”

“Dr. Lias did not resign from his position as a director as a result of any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices,” Avid Bioservices said.

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in Avid Bioservices, Inc.’s share price of 37 percent since September 2018.

Chaired by Joseph Carleone

Avid Bioservices, Inc. is chaired by Joseph Carleone.

Carleone is Chairman of the Board of AMPAC Fine Chemicals LLC, a leading manufacturer of pharmaceutical active ingredients. Prior to this position, Carleone was President, Chief Executive Officer and director of American Pacific Corporation, a leading custom manufacturer of fine and specialty chemicals and propulsion products.

In the position of CEO since 2017

Roger J. Lias has been President and CEO of Avid Bioservices, Inc., since December 22, 2017 and its Director since September 2017.

Lias has served as a member of the Board of Directors since September 2017, and as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Avid since December 2017, and served, prior to the Company’s corporate restructuring, as the President of the Company’s wholly-owned contract development and manufacturing subsidiary, since September 2017.

Prior to his joining the Company, from 2010 to December 2016, Lias served as executive director, head of global biologics business development for Allergan plc., where he was responsible for developing and executing strategies designed to support the company’s business development activities related to innovative biologics, biosimilars and complex injectable products.

From 2007 to 2010, Lias was president and group commercial director for Eden Biodesign, Inc., an established biopharmaceutical contract manufacturer and consultancy and wholly-owned subsidiary of Eden Biopharma Group.

During his tenure at Eden Biodesign, he successfully transitioned the company’s CDMO client base from early-stage biotechnology companies to established biotechnology and multinational pharmaceutical companies, while also playing a key role in the eventual sale of Eden Biopharma Group to Watson Pharmaceuticals (now Allergan).

Earlier in his career, Lias has held senior management positions at several leading CDMOs, including Cytovance Biologics, where he launched its contract process development and biopharmaceutical cGMP production business; KBI BioPharma, where he was a member of the founding management team, Diosynth RTP (formerly Covance Biotechnology Services, now Fujifilm Diosynth), where he grew revenues from $16 million to $120 million over a 4-year period, and Lonza Biologics.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the pressure surrounding the management change on a scale of 0 to 10.

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 19.2019 ($).