Lyell CEO Liz Homans leaves

  • After less than two and a half years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Homans
  • Lynn Seely taking over
  • Homans said 83 words

(exechange) — South San Francisco, California, December 16, 2022 — Liz Homans, chief executive of Lyell, leaves her position — as “mutually agreed.” As announced by Lyell Immunopharma Inc. in a news release published on Thursday, December 15, 2022, and in a regulatory filing published on Friday, December 16, 2022, Elizabeth (Liz) Homans leaves her post as chief executive officer at the clinical-stage T-cell reprogramming company, after less than two and a half years in the role, effective immediately.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.2 years. Around 23% of CEOs left their posts within three 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.

Liz Homans’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Lynn Seely, a former president and chief executive officer at Myovant Sciences.

Already a director

Seely has already been a member of the board of directors of Lyell. 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, Seely understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of Lyell’s organization, risk-management practices and strategy.

“Leading teams to success on complex rapidly moving programs”

Lyell did not give an explicit reason for Liz Homans’s departure from the CEO post. Homans said: “Lynn’s expertise in leading teams to success on complex rapidly moving programs is a perfect fit for this stage of Lyell’s growth.”

The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (26.7% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16.4%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (8.8%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (6.4% of cases), personal reasons (3%) and conduct issues (2.4%). Rather rarely stated reasons are health problems (2.1% of cases), career change (2.1%), the desire for more time with family (0.9%), disagreement (0.6%) and death (0.6%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 29.8% of cases, no reason was given.

Precise information regarding Liz Homans’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Step down”

Lyell said: “Dr. Seely succeeds Ms. Liz Homans following a four-year tenure as president and then CEO.”

Lyell further said: “On December 15, 2022, Lyell Immunopharma, Inc. (the “Company”) announced that Ms. Elizabeth Homans would step down from her position as Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of the Company effective December 15, 2022.”

“No disagreements”

Lyell stated, regarding the change: “There were no disagreements between Ms. Homans and the Company.”

Share price decline since December 2021

The announcement follows a decline in Lyell Immunopharma Inc.’s share price of 62% since December 2021.

In the position of CEO since 2020

Liz Homans became CEO of the Company in 2020.

Homans will remain a consultant to the company through June 2024.

Elizabeth Homans has served as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and member of the Company’s Board of Directors since August 2020.

From September 2018 to August 2020, she served as the Company’s President and the operational lead.

From December 2007 to May 2018, Homans served in multiple senior leadership positions at Genentech, including Vice President, U.S. Sales and Marketing Leader for Breast Cancer, Vice President, U.S. Sales and Marketing Leader for Xolair, Vice President, Global Regulatory Operations Leader and Vice President, Global Product Strategy, HER2 Franchise.

From May 2004 through November 2007, Homans served as Executive Director, Project Leadership and Portfolio Management at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Homans received an M.B.A. from Columbia University in the City of New York and a B.A. in German and Economics from Bates University.

83 words by Liz Homans

In the news release announcing her departure as CEO of Lyell Immunopharma Inc., Liz Homans received praise and thanks.

In the announcement of the leadership change, Liz Homans said 83 words.

“A difficult one”

Liz Homans stated: “My decision to transition from my role at Lyell was a difficult one, but I am excited about the next chapter for the company under Lynn’s leadership. Leading Lyell to become a fully integrated company with two clinical stage programs has been a privilege. I am incredibly proud of the team we have built and all that we have accomplished together. Lynn’s expertise in leading teams to success on complex rapidly moving programs is a perfect fit for this stage of Lyell’s growth.”

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 110 words. The longest statement was 382 words. The shortest statement was 23 words. Leadership transitions in which departing CEOs provide conspicuously short, excessively long 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. In contrast, leadership changes are statistically associated with low pressure when departing CEOs speak more about their successors than their successes.

33% 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 329 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (December 16, 2021, to December 15, 2022), the average Push-out Score was 5.6, 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 33% 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 health care 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, industrials and financials sectors, as measured by average Push-out Scores.

In the health care sector, which includes Lyell Immunopharma Inc., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 6.6, which is well above the critical threshold of 5.

In the health care sector, 24 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.

Closer look at female CEOs

Female CEOs in the U.S. have been found to be more likely to be pushed out than male CEOs. Over the past 12 months, outgoing female CEOs have received an average Push-out Score of 6.3, substantially above the average Push-out Score of 5.6 for outgoing male CEOs.

Female CEOs have a 30% shorter tenure. Women in the role step down after an average tenure of 5.9 years, compared with 8.4 years for men, the exechange data shows, which covers 22 departing female CEOs and 307 departing male CEOs.

On a five-year view, departing female CEOs received an average Push-out Score of 5.8, which was significantly higher than the average Push-out Score of 5.3 for departing male CEOs. This suggests that women were more likely to be pushed out than men, even when using a longer observation period. This is evident from exechange data covering 1,403 CEO departures (84 of them women and 1,319 men) from 2017 to 2021. Female CEOs who announced their departure from 2017 to 2021 had a 26% shorter tenure, exiting after an average of 6.6 years, compared with 8.9 years for men, the exechange data shows.

Push-out Score for Liz Homans’s move determined

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

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

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