Athersys CEO Gil Van Bokkelen leaves

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After 26 years in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Van Bokkelen
  • J. Lehmann taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor
  • Van Bokkelen said 79 words

(exechange) — Cleveland, Ohio, February 16, 2021 — This news came the day after Presidents’ Day. Gil Van Bokkelen, chief executive of Athersys, leaves. As announced by Athersys Inc. in a news release on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, Gil Van Bokkelen leaves his post as chief executive officer of the biotechnology company after 26 years in the role, effective immediately.

It is the end of an era.

Athersys will undertake a search for a successor.

Gil Van Bokkelen’s duties as CEO will be taken over in the interim by William (B.J.) Lehmann, most recently President and Chief Operating Officer of Athersys Inc., as Interim Chief Executive Officer.

“Lay the groundwork for commercialization”

Athersys did not give an explicit reason for Gil Van Bokkelen’s departure from the CEO post, leaving room for speculation. Ismail Kola, Chairman of the Athersys Board, said: “As we advance our late-stage pipeline and lay the groundwork for commercialization of our MultiStem product, Gil and the Board have mutually determined that now is the right time to transition to the next generation of leadership to help drive the Company forward and position Athersys for long-term growth and success. Over the last several years, Athersys has made significant progress across our clinical programs and commercial readiness activities, and we remain excited about the future of Athersys and the potential for MultiStem to improve the lives of millions of patients globally. With two important clinical trials nearing completion in Japan in partnership with Healios, for which results are expected in 2021, and several of our own clinical studies, including our lead ischemic stroke program, we remain focused on preparing for important top-line data readouts and on developing our go-to-market strategy for MultiStem.”

Precise information regarding Gil Van Bokkelen’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Stepped down”

Athersys said: “Dr. Gil Van Bokkelen has stepped down as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.”

Share price decline since January 2014

The announcement follows a decline in Athersys Inc.’s share price of 9% since January 2014.

Chaired by Ismail Kola

Ismail Kola serves as Athersys Inc.’s Chairman.

Ismail Kola has served as Chairman of the Board since February 2021, and prior to that, as Lead Director since August 2020 and a Director since October 2010.

In the position of CEO since 1995

Gil Van Bokkelen became CEO of the Company in 1995.

Van Bokkelen has served as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman since August 2000.

Van Bokkelen co-founded Athersys in 1995 and has served as Chief Executive Officer and Director since the Company’s founding.

Prior to May 2006, he also served as the Company’s President.

Van Bokkelen is also the Chairman of the Board of Governors for the National Center for Regenerative Medicine.

He serves on the board of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (and served as chairman from 2010 through 2012), a Washington D.C. based consortium of companies, patient advocacy groups, disease foundations, and clinical and research institutions that are committed to the advancement of the field of regenerative medicine, and he served ex officio from 2013 to 2014.

He has served on a number of other boards, including the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s board of directors (from 2001 to 2004, and from 2008 to present).

He received his Ph.D. in Genetics from Stanford University School of Medicine, his B.A. in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley, and his B.A. in Molecular Biology from the University of California at Berkeley.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the pressure surrounding Gil Van Bokkelen’s move on a scale of 0 to 10.

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 8.2021 ($).