Athenex CFO Nick Riehle leaves at short notice

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After less than one year in the position
  • Praise for Riehle
  • Li Shen taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor
  • Riehle spoke at length and said 73 words

(exechange) — Buffalo, New York, December 1, 2017 — Nick Riehle, finance chief of Athenex, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Athenex, Inc. in a regulatory filing published on Friday, December 1, 2017, J.Nick Riehle leaves his post as Chief Financial Officer at the biopharmaceutical company after less than one year in the position, effective December 31, 2017.

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

Athenex will undertake a search for a successor.

Riehle’s duties will be taken over in the interim by Li Shen, currently Vice President of Financial Reporting at Athenex, Inc.

“To spend more time with his family”

Riehle’s imminent departure from the CFO post is explained as follows. Athenex said: “Mr. Riehle intends to retire from full time employment in order to spend more time with his family.”

The phrase “to spend more time with his family” opens the door to speculation.

Precise information about Riehle’s future plans was not immediately available.

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often an alarm signal for stockholders when a CFO leaves the position at short notice and without comprehensible reasons being given.


Athenex said: “Athenex, Inc. …, a global biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapies for the treatment of cancer and related conditions, today announced the planned retirement of its Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Nick Riehle, effective December 31, 2017.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Athenex, Inc. since September 2017.

Chaired by Johnson Y.N. Lau

Athenex, Inc. is chaired by Johnson Y.N. Lau.

Johnson Yiu-Nam Lau serves as Chief Executive Officer and Board Chairman.

In the position of CFO since 2017

Nick Riehle has been Chief Financial Officer of Athenex, Inc. since February 27, 2017.

Riehle is a veteran financial and business professional.

Prior to joining Athenex, Riehle served for 10 years as Vice President Administration and Chief Financial Officer at Chelsea Therapeutics, a NASDAQ-listed biopharmaceutical company which was acquired by H. Lundbeck A/S in 2014.

Before Chelsea Therapeutics, Riehle served as Chief Financial Officer at HAHT Commerce, Inc., a software company, and prior to that served in various finance and marketing roles at Nortel Networks and IBM.

Riehle has a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University, an MBA from York University and earned a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation in Ontario, Canada.

He will continue to serve as an advisor to the Company with regard to financial matters and related areas of the business.

At the time of Riehle’s appointment as Chief Financial Officer at Athenex, Johnson Lau, Chief Executive Officer and Board Chairman, stated: “Nick is a veteran in the biopharmaceutical sector and brings the invaluable experience of having been CFO of a publicly traded pharmaceutical company.  During the eight years I served as a Board member of Chelsea Therapeutics, including as Chairman of the Audit and Risk Management Committee and as a member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, I witnessed first-hand Nick’s high standards and strong work ethic. We are delighted to have someone with Nick’s extensive credentials joining our senior management team, and we warmly welcome him.”

At the time of his appointment as Chief Financial Officer at Athenex, Riehle stated: “I am delighted to be a member of the Athenex team and look forward to making significant contributions to its continued growth.”


Generally speaking, when a top leader announces to step aside with no permanent successor in place, it’s a sign that the move was unplanned and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Nick Riehle’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 49.2017 ($).