Depomed CEO Jim Schoeneck leaves abruptly

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After almost six years on the job
  • Arthur J. Higgins taking over

(exechange) — Newark, California, March 28, 2017 — Jim Schoeneck, chief executive of Depomed, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Depomed, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, James (Jim) Schoeneck leaves the post as Chief Executive Officer at the specialty pharmaceutical company in a surprising move after almost six years on the job, effective immediately.

Schoeneck’s duties are taken over by Arthur J. Higgins, a former Chief Executive Officer at Bayer Healthcare.

The fact that Schoeneck’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 doesn’t have the constraints of an insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions.

No reason given

In the announcement, Depomed did not explicitly explain the obviously compelling reason for Schoeneck’s sudden move, leaving room for speculation.

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


Depomed said: “Arthur J. Higgins has joined the Company as President and Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors, following the resignation of James Schoeneck as President and Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors.”

“Not due to a disagreement”

“Mr. Schoeneck’s resignation is not due to a disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices,” Depomed said.

It is a phrase that may be intended to prevent false rumors. It may also fuel further speculation and raise more questions than it answers. Such a phrase should be read very carefully. The exact wording may be insightful.

Share price decline

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

Starboard Value holds 8.8 percent stake

Starboard Value LP reported an 8.8 percent stake in Depomed, Inc. Starboard Value LP is a hedge fund.

On the job as CEO since 2011

Schoeneck joined Depomed as president and chief executive officer in April 2011 and has served on the company’s Board of Directors since December 2007.

From 2005 until joining Depomed, Schoeneck was chief executive officer of BrainCells Inc., a private biopharmaceutical company.

Prior to joining BrainCells, he served as chief executive officer of ActivX BioSciences, a development stage biotechnology company.

Schoeneck’s broad pharmaceutical experience also includes three years as president and chief executive officer of Prometheus Laboratories Inc., where he led the company to profitability and rapid revenue growth, increasing annual sales from $6 million to over $70 million.

Under Schoeneck’s leadership, Prometheus was recognized as the third fastest-growing private company in America by Inc. magazine.

Prior to Prometheus, Schoeneck spent three years at Centocor, Inc., where he led the development of Centocor’s commercial capabilities, growing his team from three people to almost 500 in less than three years.

His group launched Remicade®, which has become the world’s third largest selling pharmaceutical product, with over $8 billion in sales in 2012.

Earlier in his career, he spent 13 years at Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, Inc. (now Sanofi-Aventis) serving in various sales and marketing positions of increasing responsibility.

Schoeneck serves as a member of the board of directors at Fibrogen, Inc, and AnaptysBio, Inc., a privately-held biotechnology company focused on inflammation and immuno-oncology drug development.

Schoeneck holds a B.S. degree in Education from Jacksonville State University.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Jim Schoeneck’s move.

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 14.2017 ($).