Achaogen CEO Kenneth Hillan leaves post at short notice

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about six years in the position
  • Accolades and praise for Hillan
  • Blake Wise taking over
  • Hillan will remain as President, R&D at Achaogen
  • Hillan spoke at length and said 85 words

(exechange) — South San Francisco, California, December 11, 2017 — Kenneth Hillan, chief executive of Achaogen, leaves the position. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Achaogen, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, December 11, 2017, Kenneth J. Hillan leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the biopharmaceutical company after about six years in the position, effective December 31, 2017.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CEOs who departed over the past twelve months was 8.7 years, according to data compiled by exechange.

Hillan’s duties will be taken over by Blake Wise, currently Chief Operating Officer at Achaogen, Inc.

“Achaogen is preparing for approval of its first drug”

Hillan’s imminent departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Bryan Roberts, Chairman of Achaogen’s Board of Directors and a partner at the venture capital firm Venrock, said: “Achaogen is preparing for approval of its first drug, plazomicin, and Blake’s experience scaling and leading commercial organizations is perfectly suited to maximizing this stage of growth, and value, of the Company.”

Hillan will remain as President, R&D at Achaogen

“Hillan will take on the newly created role of President, R&D (and President of Achaogen),” Achaogen said.

Hillan will remain on, and Wise will join, the Company’s Board of Directors.


Achaogen said: “Blake Wise, currently Achaogen’s President and Chief Operating Officer, will succeed Kenneth Hillan, M.B. Ch.B., as Chief Executive Officer effective January 1, 2018.”

Share price decline

The change follows a sharp decline in the share price of Achaogen, Inc. since July 2017.

Chaired by Bryan Roberts

Achaogen, Inc. is chaired by Bryan Roberts.

Roberts has served on Achaogen’s board of directors since August 2004, and he has served as the Company’s Chairman since December 2009.

In the position of CEO since 2011

Hillan has served on the Board since October 2011.

Hillan served as the Company’s Chief Medical Officer from April 2011 until July 2014, served as the Company’s President from October 2011 to February 2017 and has served as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer since October 2011.

Prior to joining Achaogen, from 1994 to April 2011, Hillan served at Genentech.

Hillan was responsible for numerous successful drug approvals and led the medical and scientific strategies for Genentech’s Immunology, Tissue Growth and Repair drug portfolio.

For Genentech, he served in a number of key leadership positions in research and development, including Senior Vice President Clinical Development, Inflammation, Vice President Immunology, Tissue Growth and Repair, Vice President Development Sciences and Vice President Research Operations and Pathology.

Hillan also previously served as Senior Vice President and head of Clinical Development and Product Development Strategy in Asia-Pacific for F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG in Shanghai, China.

Hillan served on the board of directors of Relypsa, Inc., a publicly traded biotechnology company, from June 2014 to September 2016 when it merged with Galenica AG.

Hillan holds an M.B. Ch.B. (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) degree from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Glasgow, U.K.

Hillan is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists. Dr. Hillan has authored dozens of scientific publications and is a named inventor on almost 50 issued patents.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Kenneth Hillan’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 51.2017 ($).