Ocular Therapeutix CFO Brad Smith leaves at short notice

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After three years on the job
  • Jim Fortune taking over in the interim

(exechange) — Bedford, Massachusetts, March 20, 2017 — Brad Smith, finance chief of Ocular Therapeutix, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. in a regulatory filing published on Monday, March 20, 2017, W. Bradford (Brad) Smith leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the biopharmaceutical company in a surprising move after three years on the job, effective March 31, 2017.

Smith’s duties are taken over in the interim by Jim Fortune, currently Chief Operating Officer at Ocular Therapeutix, Inc.

“To pursue other opportunities”

The imminent management change is explained as follows. Ocular Therapeutix said: “W. Bradford Smith notified Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. … on March 20, 2017 of his resignation from his position as Chief Financial Officer of the Company, effective March 31, 2017, to pursue other opportunities.”

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 Smith was not immediately available.

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. since March 2015.

Jennison holds 12.77 percent stake

Jennison Associates LLC reported a 12.77 percent stake in Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. as of December 31, 2016. Jennison is an investment advisory firm located in New York.

Chaired by Amar Sawhney

Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. is chaired by Amar Sawhney.

Amarpreet Sawhney has served as President, Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board since co-founding the Company in 2006, and he was elected as Chairman of the Board in June 2014.

On the job as CFO since 2014

Smith has been the Chief Financial Officer of Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. since March 2014 and serves as its Chief Accounting Officer.

Smith brings over 20 years of experience in the life sciences, serving as Chief Financial Officer for several public and private emerging growth biotechnology, medical device and healthcare information technology companies.

Prior to joining Ocular Therapeutix in March 2014, Smith served as CFO at OmniGuide Surgical, and previously as CFO at NeuroMetrix.

He also held CFO and senior financial roles at various other healthcare companies, including Synarc, Inc., Focal, Inc., PatientKeeper, and CytoTherapeutics.

Smith has been responsible for over $250 million in equity financing and has taken two companies public.

Smith holds a B.S. degree in biology from Tufts University and an M.B.A. degree from the Whittemore School at the University of New Hampshire.

Smith has agreed to provide consulting services on an as needed hourly basis to the Company through May 31, 2017 to assist with the transition to a successor.

Unplanned

As a general rule, when a top manager announces to step down with no permanent successor available, it is a signal that the move was unexpected and too early.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Brad Smith’s 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 13.2017 ($).