Eiger CEO David Cory leaves

  • After almost 14 years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Cory
  • David Apelian taking over temporarily
  • Search for a successor
  • Cory kept it short and said 29 words

(exechange) — Palo Alto, California, December 20, 2022 — David Cory, chief executive of Eiger, leaves his position. As announced by Eiger BioPharmaceuticals Inc. in a news release published on Thursday, December 15, 2022, and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, December 20, 2022, David A. Cory has left his post as chief executive officer at the commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company, after almost 14 years in the role, effective December 14, 2022.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.2 years. Around 29% of CEOs left their posts after more than 10 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.

Eiger will undertake a search for a successor.

David Cory’s duties as CEO will be taken over temporarily by David Apelian, most recently Chief Executive Officer at BlueSphere Bio, Inc., as interim Chief Executive Officer.

Already a director

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

“Enhancing long-term shareholder value”

Eiger did not give an explicit reason for David Cory’s departure from the CEO post. Thomas Dietz, PhD, non-executive Chairman of the Board, said: “As part of this transition, Dr. Apelian and the Board intend to conduct a program prioritization assessment with a focus on enhancing long-term shareholder value.”

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 (8.5%), 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 30.1% of cases, no reason was given.

Precise information regarding David Cory’s future plans was not immediately available.


Eiger said: “David A. Cory has resigned as President, Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors, effective immediately.”

Eiger further said: “On December 14, 2022, David Cory resigned as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, Inc.”

Generally, resignations are seen as formally voluntary departures. Still, CEOs may also be pressured to resign. In fact, 77% 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 Eiger BioPharmaceuticals Inc.’s share price of 77% since December 2021.

In the position of CEO since 2009

David Cory became CEO of the Company in 2009.

David Cory served as the President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of Private Eiger from 2009 until the completion of the Merger in March 2016.

Since the completion of the Merger, Cory has served as Eiger’s President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Company’s Board.

Cory was Chief Executive Officer of DiObex, Inc. from 2007 to 2008 and President and Chief Operating Officer at Prestwick Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from 2004 to 2006.

Cory was Co-Founder and Acting Chief Commercial Officer at CoTherix, Inc. in 2003 and Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at InterMune, Inc. from 2000 to 2003.

Previously, Cory held positions of increasing responsibility in Commercial Operations at Glaxo, Glaxo Wellcome and Glaxo Smith Kline.

Cory earned a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Cincinnati, College of Pharmacy and an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland.

29 words by David Cory

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Eiger BioPharmaceuticals Inc., David Cory received praise and thanks.

In the announcement of the leadership change, David Cory kept it short and said 29 words.

“It has been a pleasure”

David Cory stated: “It has been a pleasure seeing the company grow. I’m proud to have been a part of a great team and look forward to seeing future successes at Eiger.”

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, 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.

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 20, 2021, to December 19, 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 Eiger BioPharmaceuticals Inc., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 6.7, 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.

Push-out Score for David Cory’s move determined

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

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 52.2022 ($).