Asterias CEO Steve Cartt leaves at short notice

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After less than a year and a half on the job
  • Praise for Cartt
  • Mike Mulroy taking over
  • Cartt spoke at length and said 122 words

(exechange) — Fremont, California, May 23, 2017 — Steve Cartt, chief executive of Asterias, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, Stephen L. (Steve) Cartt leaves the post as Chief Executive Officer at the biotechnology company in a surprising move after less than a year and a half on the job, effective June 25, 2017.

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

Cartt’s move comes 16 months after Don Bailey took over as chairman of Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc.

Cartt’s duties are taken over by Mike Mulroy, most recently Senior Advisor at CamberView Partners, LLC.

The fact that Cartt’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.

Cartt’s move is part of a management shake-up also involving the position of Chief Operating Officer.

“In order to allocate more of his time to additional business and personal activities”

The imminent management change is explained as follows. Asterias said: “Steve Cartt, current President & CEO of Asterias, has decided to step down as of June 25, 2017 in order to allocate more of his time to additional business and personal activities.”

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


Asterias said: “Stephen L. Cartt will resign from the position of President and Chief Executive Officer effective as of the close of business on June 25, 2017.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. since November 2016.

Chaired by Don Bailey

Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. is chaired by Don Bailey.

Don Bailey joined Asterias’ Board of Directors as Chairman of the Board in February 2016. Bailey served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from November 2007 until Questcor was acquired by Mallinckrodt in August 2014, and he also serves on Mallinckrodt’s Board of Directors.

On the job as CEO since 2016

Stephen L. Cartt has been Chief Executive Officer and President of Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. since February 29, 2016.

Cartt began his career in the pharmaceutical industry with ALZA Corporation where he held a variety of R&D and commercial positions.

He moved to Elan Pharmaceuticals and served as Senior Director of Strategic Marketing before joining Questcor in 2005.

At Questcor, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer prior to being appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2012.

Questcor experienced high growth in revenues and earnings during this period, while its market valuation increased more than 200 fold from less than $25 million in 2007 to $5.6 billion at the time of its sale in 2014.

After the acquisition of Questcor in August 2014, Cartt served in a transitional role as Chief Operating Officer of Mallinckrodt’s AutoImmune and Rare Diseases Business Unit until October 2014.

Cartt has been a member of the BioTime, Inc. Board of Directors since November 2014, a position from which he has resigned in conjunction with accepting the CEO position at Asterias, a publicly traded subsidiary of BioTime (NYSE MKT: BTX).

He holds a B.S. in biochemistry from the University of California, Davis and an MBA from Santa Clara University.

Cartt will remain a member of the Board of Directors and act as advisor to Mulroy to ensure a smooth transition.

Cartt and Mulroy worked closely together for many years at Questcor Pharmaceuticals, a company they built together along with Asterias Chairman Don Bailey and CFO Ryan Chavez, before its eventual sale in 2014 to Mallinckrodt plc for $5.6 billion.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Steve Cartt’s imminent 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 22.2017 ($).