Athira CEO Leen Kawas leaves

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After almost eight years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Kawas
  • Mark Litton taking over
  • Kawas kept it short and said 52 words

(exechange) — Bothell, Washington, October 21, 2021 — Leen Kawas, chief executive of Athira, leaves. As announced by Athira Pharma Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, October 21, 2021, Leen Kawas has left her post as chief executive officer at the Alzheimer’s biotech, after almost eight years in the role, effective October 18, 2021.

Leen Kawas’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Mark Litton, most recently Chief Operating Officer at Athira Pharma Inc.

Rachel Lenington, M.B.A., the Company’s Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product Development Strategy, has been appointed as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer.

“It is in Athira’s best interest”

Athira did not give an explicit reason for Leen Kawas’s departure from the CEO post. Kelly A. Romano, Chair of the Board of Directors of Athira, said: “The Company and Dr. Kawas agreed it is in Athira’s best interest to enter this critical next chapter under new leadership. Dr. Kawas’s actions at Washington State University took place many years ago and did not involve ATH-1017, Athira’s lead development candidate.”

Precise information regarding Leen Kawas’s future plans was not immediately available.


Athira said: “Dr. Litton succeeds Dr. Leen Kawas, who has resigned from her position as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Company’s Board of Directors.”

Athira further said: “On October 18, 2021, Dr. Kawas submitted her resignation as president and chief executive officer of Athira and as a member of Athira’s board of directors, effective October 18, 2021.”

Share price decline since October 2020

The announcement follows a decline in Athira Pharma Inc.’s share price of 43% since October 2020.

In the position of CEO since 2014

Leen Kawas became CEO of the Company in 2014.

Leen Kawas, Ph.D., has served as the Company’s chief executive officer and as a member of the Company’s board of directors since January 2014.

Previously, Kawas served as the Company’s vice president.

Kawas serves on multiple boards, including the Washington Governor’s Life Science Advisory Board, Scientific Review Board for the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, and Alzheimer’s Association – Washington Chapter Board.

She also served as the co-chair of the International Alzheimer’s Association Business Consortium.

Kawas earned a Ph.D. in molecular pharmacology from Washington State University in 2011 and a pharmacy degree from the University of Jordan in 2008.

Push-out Score determined

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

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 43.2021 ($).