Fulcrum CEO Bryan Stuart leaves

  • After less than two years in the position
  • Robert Gould taking over temporarily

(exechange) — Cambridge, Massachusetts, January 4, 2023 — Bryan Stuart, chief executive of Fulcrum, leaves his position — as “mutually agreed.” As announced by Fulcrum Therapeutics Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, January 4, 2023, Bryan E. Stuart has left his post as chief executive officer at the biopharmaceutical company, after less than two years in the role, effective January 2, 2023.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.3 years. Around 12% of CEOs left their posts within two 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.

Bryan Stuart’s duties as CEO will be taken over temporarily by Robert J. Gould, a former chief executive officer and president at Fulcrum Therapeutics Inc., as interim Chief Executive Officer.

Robert Gould is about 23 years older than Bryan Stuart.

“To pursue other opportunities”

Bryan Stuart’s departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Fulcrum said: “Robert J. Gould, Ph.D., former president and founding chief executive officer of Fulcrum has been appointed as interim CEO as Bryan Stuart departs to pursue other opportunities.”

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 (16.2%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (8.4%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (5.7% 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%), death (0.9%) and disagreement (0.6%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 30.9% of cases, no reason was given.

Precise information regarding Bryan Stuart’s future plans was not immediately available.


Fulcrum said: “Bryan Stuart departs to pursue other opportunities.”

Fulcrum further said: “On January 2, 2023, Bryan Stuart and Fulcrum Therapeutics, Inc., or Fulcrum, mutually agreed that he would transition from his role as president, chief executive officer and as Class II director, and in connection therewith, Fulcrum and Bryan Stuart entered into a severance agreement dated January 2, 2023.”

Share price decline since January 2022

The announcement follows a decline in Fulcrum Therapeutics Inc.’s share price of 56% since January 2022.

In the position of CEO since 2021

Bryan Stuart became CEO of the Company in 2021.

Bryan Stuart has served as the Company’s president and chief executive officer and as a member of the Company’s board of directors since March 2021, and served as the Company’s chief operating officer from December 2018 to March 2021.

Prior to joining the Company, Stuart served as president and chief executive officer of Yarra Therapeutics, LLC, or Yarra, from December 2017 to August 2018.

Prior to joining Yarra, Stuart served as president of Kastle Therapeutics, LLC, or Kastle, from July 2015 to March 2017 and as president and chief executive officer from March 2017 to November 2017.

Both Yarra and Kastle focused on developing therapies for rare diseases. Stuart was the chief business officer of Civitas Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, from August 2012 to October 2014. He previously led business development, corporate development and strategy at EKR Therapeutics Inc. (acquired by Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A.) and Ovation Pharmaceuticals Inc. (acquired by Lundbeck A/S).

Stuart began his career as a healthcare investment banker at William Blair & Company.

Stuart received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a B.S. from the University of Illinois.

At the time of Bryan Stuart’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer at Fulcrum, Mark Levin, then Fulcrum’s Board chair, had stated: “Bryan is the ideal candidate to lead Fulcrum through its next critical stage of growth. He is a trusted and strategic leader and a natural successor to Robert. Bryan brings over 20 years of industry experience, predominantly in the rare disease space. With his proven track record of helping to successfully advance numerous rare disease programs from the clinic to commercialization, I’m confident he will bring significant value to Fulcrum in his new role.”

No statement by Bryan Stuart

The announcement of his departure as CEO does not include a statement by Bryan Stuart.

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 108 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 333 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (January 4, 2022, to January 3, 2023), 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 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 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, financials and utilities sectors, as measured by average Push-out Scores.

In the health care sector, which includes Fulcrum Therapeutics 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, 25 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 Bryan Stuart’s move determined

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

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 2.2023 ($).