Sucampo CFO Andrew Smith leaves at short notice

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After about two years on the job
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Smith
  • Peter Pfreundschuh taking over

(exechange) — Rockville, Maryland, March 08, 2017 — Andrew Smith, finance chief of Sucampo, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, March 08, 2017, Andrew Smith leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the biopharmaceutical company in a surprising move after about two years on the job, effective March 20, 2017.

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

Smith’s duties are taken over by Peter Pfreundschuh, most recently Chief Financial Officer at Immunomedics Inc.

The fact that Smith’s successor is brought in from outside suggests that the board may seek to stimulate change with fresh ideas and new initiatives.

The move is part of a management shake-up.

Also effective on March 20, 2017, Jones “Woody” Bryan will join Sucampo as the new Senior Vice President of Business Development and Licensing.

“To move back to Europe with his family to pursue professional opportunities there”

The imminent management change is explained as follows. Sucampo said: “Andrew Smith, Chief Financial Officer, will be leaving Sucampo to move back to Europe with his family to pursue professional opportunities there.”

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

“Leave”

Sucampo said: “On March 2, 2017, Mr. Andrew Smith, the Company’s Chief Financial Officer, notified the Company’s Board of Directors of his intent to leave that position effective March 20, 2017.”

“No disagreements”

“Mr. Smith has indicated that he has no disagreements with management,” Sucampo said.

It is a phrase that may be intended to prevent false rumors. It may also fuel further speculation and raise more questions than it answers. Such a phrase should be read very carefully. The exact wording may be insightful.

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. since September 2015.

Chaired by Peter Greenleaf

Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is chaired by Peter Greenleaf.

Greenleaf became the Chairman in January 2016 and has been the Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors since March 2014.

On the job as CFO since 2015

Smith became the Chief Financial Officer in February 2015 after joining Sucampo in February 2011, first as Principal Accounting Officer and then as Vice President of Operations and Finance starting in January 2012.

In addition to his direct role at the company, he was a financial consultant to Sucampo from June 2009 to February 2011.

Prior to joining Sucampo, Smith was the Finance Director and Company Secretary for Retroscreen Virology Ltd., a contract virology company carrying out clinical and preclinical studies for pharmaceutical companies developing influenza vaccines, from 2006 to 2009.

He also served as the Finance Director and Company Secretary of Clearlab Europe, a division of 1-800 Contacts Inc., following its acquisition of VisionTec CL, developer of the world’s first daily disposable contact lens, of which he was co-founder and member of its Board of Directors.

In addition, he previously held senior financial management positions at Biocompatibles plc, Hydron Ltd (acquired by Biocompatibles) and Allergan Inc.

Smith is a member of the Board of Directors of the Tech Council of Maryland (TCM).

Smith is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and a Chartered Global Management Accountant.

Smith studied business and accounting at Liverpool John Moores University and Durham University Business School.

He will remain in his CFO role through March 20 and will thereafter assist in the transition of his responsibilities.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Andrew 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 11.2017 ($).