Syndax CFO Allan Shaw leaves at short notice

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After about a year on the job
  • Laud, praise and thanks for Shaw
  • Rick Shea taking over

( — Waltham, Massachusetts, February 09, 2017 — Allan Shaw, finance chief of Syndax, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Syndax Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in a news release on Thursday, February 09, 2017, Allan L. Shaw leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the clinical stage biopharmaceutical company in a surprising move after about a year on the job, effective February 13, 2017.

No company wants a CFO to flame out in the first years.

Shaw’s duties are taken over by Rick Shea, most recently Chief Financial Officer at Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Shaw will work closely with Shea to ensure an orderly transition of finance activities through the end of February.

Already a director

Shea is already a director of Syndax. Often a board member is a last resort, someone who is turned to in desperation when a company can’t find other suitable candidates. On the other hand, directors-turned-executives represent a blend of outsider and insider.

Having been a director, Shea understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of Syndax’s organization, finances and strategy.

“To pursue other opportunities”

The imminent management change is explained as follows. Syndax said: “Allan L. Shaw, Chief Financial Officer, is leaving the Company to pursue other opportunities and his resignation is effective February 13, 2017.”

The phrase “to pursue other opportunities” is often used in corporate announcements and opens the door to speculation.

Precise information about the future plans of Shaw was not immediately available.

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Syndax Pharmaceuticals, Inc. since October 2016.

Chaired by Dennis G. Podlesak

Syndax Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is chaired by Dennis G. Podlesak.

Dennis G. Podlesak has served as chairman of the board of directors since December 2008.

CEO: Briggs W. Morrison

Briggs W. Morrison, M.D. has served as Syndax’ Chief Executive Officer since June 2015 and as a member of the board of directors since July 2015.

On the job as CFO since 2016

Allan L. Shaw has served as Syndax’ Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer since January 2016.

Prior to joining Syndax, Shaw served as a Managing Director of Alvarez & Marsal LLC, a global professional services firm, and led their biopharmaceutical consulting practice, from December 2011 to March 2015, and supported Alvarez & Marsal LLC on an ad hoc basis from March 2015 to October 2015.

Previously, Shaw served as the Chief Financial Officer of NewLead Holdings LTD., a publicly traded global shipping company, from 2009 to 2011.

Shaw was the founder and Senior Managing Director of Shaw Strategic Capital LLC, an international financial advisory firm focused on providing strategic financial counsel on a wide variety of issues such as general corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, capital structuring, licensing and capital markets, from 2005 to 2009.

Prior to that, Shaw was the Chief Financial Officer of Serono S.A., a publicly traded global biotechnology company from 2002 to 2004.

Shaw currently serves on the board of directors of Vivus Inc., a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company, Akari Therapeutics, Plc. (formerly Celsus Therapeutics), a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company, and Edith & Carl Marks JCH of Bensonhurst, a non-profit organization.

Shaw received a B.S. from the State University of New York (Oswego College) and is a certified public accountant in the State of New York.

At the time of Shaw’s appointment as Chief Financial Officer at Syndax, Briggs W. Morrison, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Syndax, had said: “We are very pleased to welcome Allan to the Syndax senior management team during an exciting period for the company. His breadth of experience, including corporate finance, capital markets and strategic transactions, will be critical in financing and supporting our business initiatives as we continue to develop our lead candidate entinostat in multiple cancer indications and expand our clinical pipeline.”

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Allan L. Shaw’s move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the report 07.2017 ($).