Viridian CEO Jonathan Violin leaves

  • After about two years in the position
  • Praise for Violin
  • Scott Myers taking over
  • Violin said 113 words

(exechange) — Waltham, Massachusetts, February 6, 2023 — Jonathan Violin, chief executive of Viridian, leaves his position. As announced by Viridian Therapeutics Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, February 6, 2023, Jonathan Violin leaves his post as chief executive officer at the biopharmaceutical company, after about two years in the role, effective immediately.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.5 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.

Jonathan Violin’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Scott Myers, most recently Chief Executive Officer at AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

The fact that Jonathan Violin’s successor is brought in from outside suggests that the board may seek to stimulate change with fresh ideas and new initiatives.

In general, an outsider does not have the constraints of an insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions.

“The time is right”

Jonathan Violin’s departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Violin stated: “With our first Phase 3 trial in TED underway, and a potential best-in-class subcutaneous strategy advancing rapidly behind it, the time is right to advance the company through its next stage of growth.”

The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (26.5% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16.1%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (9.2%), 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 (2.1%). Rather rarely stated reasons are career change (2.1% of cases), health problems (1.8%), disagreement (0.9%), death (0.9%) and the desire for more time with family (0.6%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 31.3% of cases, no reason was given.

Precise information regarding Jonathan Violin’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Stepping down”

Viridian said: “[Scott Myers] succeeds Jonathan Violin, Ph.D. who has led Viridian since its inception in 2020.”

Viridian further said: “Jonathan Violin, Ph.D., will be stepping down from his role as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and as a member of the Board, effective immediately.”

“Not the result of any disagreements”

Viridian stated, regarding the change: “Dr. Violin’s resignation from the Board was not the result of any disagreements with the Company relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices.”

Share price increase since January 2021

The announcement follows an increase in Viridian Therapeutics Inc.’s share price of 118% since January 2021. January 2021 is the month in which Violin’s tenure as CEO began.

In the position of CEO since 2021

Jonathan Violin became CEO of the Company in 2021.

Violin has served as the Company’s President, Chief Executive Officer and member of the Company’s Board since January 2021, and he previously served as the Company’s President and Chief Operating Officer from October 2020 until January 2021.

He was the Co-Founder of Private Viridian and led Private Viridian’s operations from April 2020 to its acquisition.

Prior to that, Violin co-founded Dianthus Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company, in May 2019.

He also co-founded Quellis Biosciences, Inc., a biotechnology company (acquired by Astria Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATXS), formerly Catabasis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.), in 2018 and since January 2021, has served on the Astria Therapeutics board of directors.

Prior to that, he co-founded and helped lead Trevena Inc. (Nasdaq: TRVN), a biotechnology company, in various roles from 2008 until November 2018, including most recently as Senior Vice President, Scientific Affairs and Investor Relations Officer.

Violin received a Ph.D. from the Department of Pharmacology Biomedical Sciences Program at the University of California, San Diego, a M.B.A. with a concentration in Health Sector Management from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, and a B.S. in Chemical Pharmacology from Duke University.

113 words by Jonathan Violin

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Viridian Therapeutics Inc., Jonathan Violin received praise.

In announcing the leadership change, Jonathan Violin said 113 words.

“Advance the company through its next stage of growth”

Jonathan Violin stated: “Our progress and growth since founding Viridian have been nothing but extraordinary. With our first Phase 3 trial in TED underway, and a potential best-in-class subcutaneous strategy advancing rapidly behind it, the time is right to advance the company through its next stage of growth. Scott brings to Viridian extensive late-stage clinical development, global commercial, and executive leadership experience with a proven track record of creating value. His appointment puts Viridian in a position to build upon the Company’s strong foundation to achieve our shared vision of becoming a fully-integrated biopharmaceutical company. I am proud of what we have built at Viridian, and excited about the future of the Company under Scott’s leadership.”

Over the past 12 months, 25% 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 510 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.

35% 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 336 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (February 6, 2022, to February 5, 2023), the average Push-out Score was 5.7, 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 35% 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, one in three departing CEOs were forced out or fired.

Pressure in the health care sector far 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, health care and consumer staples sectors showed the highest average Push-out Scores. By contrast, pressure on CEOs was lowest in the real estate, utilities and financials sectors, as measured by average Push-out Scores.

In the health care sector, which includes Viridian Therapeutics Inc., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 7.1, which is far above the critical threshold of 5.

In the health care sector, 27 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 Jonathan Violin’s move determined

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

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 7.2023 ($).