Merrimack CFO Yasir Al-Wakeel leaves at short notice

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After less than two years on the job
  • Laud, praise and thanks for Al-Wakeel
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 25, 2017 — Yasir Al-Wakeel, finance chief of Merrimack, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, May 25, 2017, Yasir Al-Wakeel leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the biopharmaceutical company in a surprising move after less than two years on the job, effective June 09, 2017.

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

Al-Wakeel’s move comes four months after Richard Peters took over as CEO of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Merrimack will undertake a search for a successor.

“To pursue other business interests”

The imminent management change is explained as follows. Merrimack said: “Dr. Al-Wakeel, who has been in his role with Merrimack since August 2015, is leaving to pursue other business interests.”

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

Precise information about the future plans of Al-Wakeel was not immediately available.

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often an alarm signal for stockholders when a CFO leaves the post at short notice and without an understandable explanation.


Merrimack said: “On May 22, 2017, Yasir B. Al-Wakeel, the Chief Financial Officer, Head of Corporate Development, Principal Accounting Officer and Treasurer of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc., provided notice of his resignation, effective as of June 9, 2017.”

Share price decline

The change follows a sharp decline in the share price of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. since July 2015.

Chaired by Gary L. Crocker

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is chaired by Gary L. Crocker.

Crocker has served as a member of the Company’s board of directors since 2004 and as Chairman of the Company’s board of directors since 2005.

CEO: Richard Peters

Richard Peters serves as CEO of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Richard Peters has served as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer since February 2017.

On the job as CFO since 2015

Yasir B. Al-Wakeel has served as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer and Head of Corporate Development since August 2015.

Al-Wakeel previously served in various capacities at Credit Suisse, an investment banking firm, from January 2008 to June 2015.

While at Credit Suisse, Al-Wakeel was most recently a Director of Healthcare Investment Banking focused on biotechnology and, prior to that role, he was an Equity Research Analyst covering the biotechnology and specialty pharmaceuticals sectors.

Before joining Credit Suisse, Al-Wakeel was a practicing physician, holding both clinical and academic medical posts.

Al-Wakeel holds a BM BCh (Doctor of Medicine) from Oxford University, an M.A. in theology from Cambridge University and a B.A. from Cambridge University.

At the time of Al-Wakeel’s appointment as Chief Financial Officer at Merrimack, Robert Mulroy, then President & CEO of Merrimack, had said: “We are thrilled to have Yasir join our team as we strive to build a fully integrated cancer company.  Al-Wakeel brings deep industry knowledge and leading capabilities in corporate strategy, finance and development, all supported by exceptional clinical and scientific experience.  His expertise will be core to the execution of our vision.”


Generally speaking, when a top manager announces to step down with no successor available, it is a signal that the change was unexpected and too early.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Yasir Al-Wakeel’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 ($).