Karyopharm CFO Justin Renz leaves abruptly

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After almost three years on the job
  • Laud, praise, thanks and good wishes for Renz
  • Mike Todisco taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Newton, Massachusetts, April 03, 2017 — Justin Renz, finance chief of Karyopharm, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, April 03, 2017, Justin A. Renz leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the clinical-stage pharmaceutical company in a surprising move after almost three years on the job, effective immediately.

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

Karyopharm will undertake a search for a successor.

Renz’ duties are taken over in the interim by Mike Todisco, most recently Vice President, Finance and Assistant Treasurer at Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc.

“To pursue other opportunities”

The sudden management change is explained as follows. Karyopharm said: “Justin Renz, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, has stepped down in order to pursue other opportunities, effective today.”

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 Renz was not immediately available.

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often a wake-up call for stockholders when a CFO leaves the post abruptly and without a reasonable explanation.


Karyopharm said: “On April 3, 2017, Justin Renz resigned as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc. …, effective April 3, 2017.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc. since December 2014.

Wellington holds 13.88 percent stake

Wellington Management Company, LLP reported a 13.88 percent stake in Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc. as of December 31, 2016.

CEO: Michael G. Kauffman

Michael G. Kauffman serves as CEO of Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc. Kauffman co-founded Karyopharm with Sharon Shacham in 2008 and has served as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer since January 2011, as Chief Medical Officer since December 2012, and as a director since 2008.

On the job as CFO since 2014

Renz joined Karyopharm in August 2014 as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer.

Prior to joining Karyopharm, he most recently served as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer at Zalicus Inc. (formerly CombinatoRx, Inc.), which he joined in September 2006.

He led core business and finance functions at Zalicus, oversaw multiple rounds of equity and debt financing and led the company’s asset monetization strategy.

More recently, Renz was instrumental in the reverse merger and sale of Zalicus to EPIRUS Biopharmaceuticals Inc. in July 2014.

Prior to Zalicus, Renz served in senior finance and accounting roles at Serono, Inc. and Coley Pharmaceutical Group, Inc.

Earlier in his career, Renz held increasingly senior finance positions at ArQule, Inc. and Millipore Corporation.

Renz began his career with Arthur Andersen LLP in 1993.

He received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Accounting from the College of the Holy Cross, a Master of Science in Taxation from Northeastern University and a Master of Business Administration from Suffolk University.

Renz will continue to serve the Company in an advisory capacity in order to ensure a smooth transition.


Generally speaking, when a top leader announces to step aside with no permanent successor available, it is a signal that the move was unplanned and too early.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Justin Renz’ sudden 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 15.2017 ($).