Rockley CEO Andrew Rickman leaves post

  • After nine years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Rickman
  • Richard Meier taking over
  • Rickman will remain as executive chairman at Rockley

(exechange) — Oxford, England & Pasadena, California, December 12, 2022 — Andrew Rickman, chief executive of Rockley, leaves his position. As announced by Rockley Photonics Holdings Ltd. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, December 12, 2022, Andrew Rickman leaves his post as chief executive officer at the medical technology company, after nine years in the role, effective immediately.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.3 years. This is according to data collected by CEO-exit research firm exechange.

exechange tracks CEO departures at the 3,000 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S., examines the reasons CEOs leave and determines the Push‑out Score™, a measure of pressure on departing chief executives on a scale of 0 to 10.

Andrew Rickman’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Richard A. Meier, most recently President and Chief Financial Officer at Rockley Photonics Holdings Ltd.

Chad Becker will assume the role of interim chief financial officer. Rockley will retain an executive search firm and commence a formal search for a permanent chief financial officer.

“To position the Company for its next phase of growth”

Rockley did not give an explicit reason for Andrew Rickman’s departure from the CEO post. Rockley said: “Rockley Photonics Holdings Limited (NYSE: RKLY), a global medical technology company focused on delivering leading edge silicon photonics-based biosensing solutions by targeting a portfolio of biomarkers, today announced changes to its senior management team. These changes are intended to position the Company for its next phase of growth.”

The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (25.6% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16.7%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (8.6%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (6.5% of cases), personal reasons (3.1%) and conduct issues (2.5%). Rather rarely stated reasons are health problems (2.2% of cases), career change (2.2%), the desire for more time with family (0.9%), disagreement (0.6%) and death (0.6%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 30.6% of cases, no reason was given.

Rickman will remain as executive chairman at Rockley

Rockley stated: “Dr. Andrew Rickman has resigned as chief executive officer and will take on the role of executive chairman of Rockley.”


Rockley said: “Mr. Meier will succeed Dr. Andrew Rickman, who resigned from his position as Chief Executive Officer on December 12, 2022.”

Generally, resignations are seen as formally voluntary departures. Still, CEOs may also be pressured to resign. In fact, 78% of the time “resign” was used in the past 12 months, the CEO departure received a Push-out Score above the critical threshold of 5, indicating elevated pressure.

Share price decline since December 2021

The announcement follows a decline in Rockley Photonics Holdings Ltd.’s share price of 93% since December 2021.

In the position of CEO since 2013

Andrew Rickman became CEO of the Company in 2013.

Andrew Rickman, has served as the chairman of the Board and as Rockley’s chief executive officer.

Rickman also serves as a director on the Company’s Board.

Rickman founded Rockley in 2013 and has since served as its chief executive officer.

Rickman previously founded Bookham, Inc. (“Bookham”), now part of Lumentum (NASDAQ:LITE) (after its 2018 acquisition of Oclaro Inc. (NASDAQ:OCLR) which was formed in 2009 after Bookham’s merger with Avanex Inc.), one of the world’s largest photonics and fiber optics telecom component producers in 1998 and served as its chief executive officer and chairman until 2004.

From 2007 to 2013, he was chairman of Kotura Inc., a leader in the field of silicon photonics for fiber optic communications, high performance computing, and sensing applications, through to its development and sale to Mellanox Technologies, Ltd (NASDAQ: MLNX) in 2013.

In 2000, Rickman was named U.K.’s Technology and Communications Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young.

In 2011, Rickman was awarded an Honorary Professorship at SIMIT, Chinese Academy of Sciences. From 2003 to 2013, he was a trustee of the Oxford Trust and from 2001 to 2004 was a council member of the U.K. Government’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Rickman holds a mechanical engineering degree from Imperial College, London, a Ph.D. in silicon photonics from Surrey University, an MBA from Cranfield University, and honorary doctorates from Surrey, Edinburgh Napier, and Kingston Universities.

He is a chartered engineer and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Physics.

He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Millennium Honors list for services to the telecommunications industry and is a winner of the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Silver medal for his outstanding contribution to British Engineering.

No statement by Andrew Rickman

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Rockley Photonics Holdings Ltd., Andrew Rickman received praise and thanks.

The announcement of the leadership change does not include a statement by Andrew Rickman.

Over the past 12 months, 26% of all outgoing CEOs remained silent in the departure announcement, according to data compiled by exechange. Departing CEOs who did make a statement said an average of 109 words. The longest statement was 382 words. The shortest statement was 23 words. Leadership transitions in which departing CEOs provide conspicuously short or no explanations for their move are statistically associated with elevated pressure and show an increased incidence of Push-out Scores above the critical threshold of 5, according to exechange data.

32% of CEOs are forced out or fired

When CEO departures are announced, exechange determines the Push-out Score on a scale of 0 to 10 to assess how likely it is that the chief executive was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position, with 0 being most likely a voluntary move and 10 being most likely a forced exit. Anything over a 5 indicates that there are valid reasons to believe an executive may have been pushed out.

Of the 324 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (December 12, 2021, to December 11, 2022), the average Push-out Score was 5.5, according to exechange data. References to conduct issues, disagreements and irregularities lead to the highest Push-out Scores. When time with family, performance issues or other opportunities were cited as departure reasons, the average Push-out Scores were also significantly elevated.

Around 32% of the CEO departure events from the past 12 months received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher.

In other words, in the past 12 months, three in 10 departing CEOs were forced out or fired.

Pressure in the information technology sector well above the critical threshold

Some industries are under generally higher pressure than others, and CEOs are feeling the strain. In the past 12 months, the communication, consumer staples and health care sectors showed the highest average Push-out Scores. By contrast, pressure on CEOs was lowest in the real estate, financials and industrials sectors, as measured by average Push-out Scores.

In the information technology sector, which includes Rockley Photonics Holdings Ltd., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 6.1, which is well above the critical threshold of 5.

In the information technology sector, 18 exiting CEOs received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher over the past 12 months, indicating that they were most likely forced out or faced strong pressure to step down.

Push-out Score for Andrew Rickman’s move determined

The Push-out Score regarding Andrew Rickman’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 51.2022 ($).