Arbutus CEO Bill Collier leaves

  • After about four and a half years in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Collier
  • Mike McElhaugh taking over temporarily
  • Collier said 72 words

(exechange) — Warminster, Pennsylvania, November 7, 2023 — Bill Collier, chief executive of Arbutus, leaves his position. As announced by Arbutus Biopharma Corp. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, William H. (Bill) Collier leaves his post as chief executive officer at the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, after about four and a half years in the role, effective December 31, 2023.

Generally speaking, it raises questions when a CEO leaves his post at short notice.

Bill Collier’s duties as CEO will be taken over temporarily by Michael J. (Mike) McElhaugh, currently Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Arbutus Biopharma Corp., as Interim Chief Executive Officer.

No reason given

In the announcement, Arbutus did not explicitly explain the reason for the move.

Precise information regarding Bill Collier’s future plans was not immediately available.


Arbutus said: “William Collier will retire from his position as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, and as a member of the Board of Directors, at the end of 2023.”

Arbutus further said: “On November 1, 2023, William H. Collier informed Arbutus Biopharma Corporation (the “Company”) of his retirement as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) and from the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of the Company, effective as of December 31, 2023.”

“Not due to any disagreement”

Arbutus stated, regarding the change: “Mr. Collier’s retirement from the Board was not due to any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices.”

Share price decline since November 2022

The announcement follows a decline in Arbutus Biopharma Corp.’s share price of 22% since November 2022.

In the position of CEO since 2019

Bill Collier became CEO of the Company in 2019.

Collier has served as the Company’s President, Chief Executive Officer and Director since June 2019.

Collier previously served as President and General Manager, North America at ViiV Healthcare Limited (“ViiV”) North America, a pharmaceutical company specializing in the development of therapies for HIV infection, from 2009 to 2018, where he was responsible for ViiV’s business operations in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

During his time at ViiV, Collier oversaw the launches of two treatments for HIV infection and created a community partnership that supports HIV programs for underserved populations in the southern United States.

Collier also led a senior-level program to accelerate access to appropriate HIV medicines for children in developing countries.

Prior to ViiV, Collier held several senior commercial roles for GlaxoSmithKline in the United States, including Senior Vice President for Sales and Senior Vice President for Marketing Analytics and Commercial Operations, covering central nervous system, anti-infective, cardio-vascular, diabetes, men’s health and respiratory therapy areas.

During this time, Collier also led global strategic projects focused on new product launch excellence in Japan and cost reduction initiatives in central support functions.

In the late 1990’s, Collier was Area Director for GlaxoWellcome’s (“Wellcome”) Sub-Saharan Africa operations based in Johannesburg, South Africa, responsible for developing and implementing a regional strategy, including novel low-cost product sourcing options suitable for African markets.

In the early 1990’s, Collier worked at Wellcome as Global Commercial lead for the Herpes business sector.

Earlier in his career, Collier held several sales and marketing positions for Abbott Laboratories, SmithKline Beecham and Beecham Pharmaceuticals in the United Kingdom.

Collier is a governance fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors and has served on the boards of Genevant (director 2019-2020; observer 2020-present), International Partnership for Microbicides (2018-2021), AIDS United (2011-2018) and was a member of President Obama’s Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (2014-2018).

Collier received his B.Sc. degree with honors in Mathematics and Management Sciences from the University of Manchester, UK and has completed leadership programs at the London Business School, INSEAD and Duke University.

Collier is a citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom.

72 words by Bill Collier

In the release announcing his departure as CEO of Arbutus Biopharma Corp., Bill Collier received praise, thanks and good wishes.

In announcing his departure, Bill Collier said 72 words.

“Continue to advance Arbutus”

Bill Collier stated: “Leading Arbutus and working with such a passionate, dedicated leadership team to develop a functional cure for patients with chronic hepatitis B virus has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career. I extend my deepest gratitude to our entire team, without whom our shared success would not have been possible. I am confident that Mike McElhaugh’s leadership and industry knowledge are ideally suited to continue to advance Arbutus.”

Push-out Score for Bill Collier’s move determined

The Push-out Score indicates on a scale of 0 to 10 how likely it is that Bill Collier was pushed out or felt pressure to leave his position.

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 46.2023 ($).