Savara CEO Rob Neville leaves

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After around 12 years in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Neville
  • Matthew Pauls taking over in the interim

(exechange) — Austin, Texas, September 11, 2020 — Rob Neville, chief executive of Savara, leaves. As announced by Savara Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Friday, September 11, 2020, Robert (Rob) Neville leaves his post as chief executive officer at the orphan lung disease company after around 12 years in the role, effective immediately.

Rob Neville’s duties as CEO will be taken over in the interim by Matthew Pauls, currently founder of Spartan Biopharma Insights, LLC, as Interim Chief Executive Officer.

Already a director

Pauls is already a director of Savara. Generally speaking, most director-turned-CEO appointments occur following a sudden resignation of the outgoing CEO and signal a lack of preparedness on the company’s part to groom internal talent. 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, Pauls understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of Savara’s organization, risk-management practices and strategy.

Rob Neville’s move forms part of a management shake-up also involving the position of President and Chief Business Officer.

“To pursue other opportunities”

The management change is explained as follows. Savara said: “Rob Neville has resigned as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and from the Board of Directors, effective immediately, to pursue other opportunities.”

Precise information regarding Rob Neville’s future plans was not immediately available.


Savara said: “Effective September 11, 2020 (the “Effective Date”), the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of Savara Inc. (“Savara”) appointed Matthew Pauls as Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of Savara. Mr. Pauls’ appointment follows the resignation of Rob Neville from his position as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board and that of Taneli Jouhikainen from his position as Savara’s President and Chief Business Officer.”

“Not the result of any disagreement”

“Mr. Neville’s resignation from the Board was not the result of any disagreement with Savara on any matter relating to its operations, policies or practices,” Savara said.

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in Savara Inc.’s share price of 88% since May 2019.

In the position of CEO since 2008

Rob Neville became CEO of the Company in 2008.

Neville has served as the Company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since he co-founded the company in June 2008.

Neville has extensive operational and development experience spanning more than 25 years across a number of sectors, including the life sciences industry.

Prior to co-founding Private Savara, Neville founded and served as CEO at Evity, Inc., a developer of web-based applications, which was subsequently sold to BMC Software, Inc., from June 1998 to May 2000.

In 2018, Neville was honored as a winner of the Life Science category of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Central Texas Region; based on his work at Private Savara and Evity, Neville was previously honored as a two-time finalist for the award.

Neville holds a post-graduate Engineering degree from the University of Natal South Africa.

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 Savara and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 37.2020 ($).