Illumina’s CEO Transition: Francis deSouza Steps Down, Search for New Leader Begins
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Illumina’s CEO Transition: Francis deSouza Steps Down, Search for New Leader Begins

The Western Connect Magazine - Illumina's CEO Transition Francis deSouza Steps Down Search for New Leader Begins

Charles Dadswell to Serve as Interim CEO During Transition Period

TWC – In a surprising turn of events, Illumina, a renowned biotech company, announced on Sunday that its CEO, Francis deSouza, has resigned. This comes shortly after activist investor Carl Icahn failed to remove deSouza from the company. Illumina’s board of directors has accepted the resignation and is actively searching for a new CEO, considering internal and external candidates. In the meantime, Charles Dadswell, Illumina’s senior vice president and general counsel, will assume the role of interim CEO.

DeSouza’s resignation takes effect immediately, although he will provide advisory support until July 31, contributing his expertise during the transition period. Expressing his thoughts, deSouza stated, “It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve Illumina. We have made great progress together, but I believe we are still at the very beginning of the impact Illumina will have on human health by unlocking the power of the genome.”

Known for its groundbreaking DNA sequencing and array-based technology, Illumina has been embroiled in a contentious proxy fight with Carl Icahn, who holds a 1.4% stake in the company. Icahn has been critical of Illumina’s executive management and board, particularly regarding the company’s controversial $7.1 billion acquisition of cancer test maker Grail in 2021. In April, Icahn publicly lambasted deSouza in an open letter to Illumina shareholders, accusing him of desperately trying to spin lacklustre quarterly results during a press tour.

Towards the end of May, Icahn urged shareholders to vote against deSouza and Chairman John Thompson during the board election. While shareholders voted out Thompson, deSouza retained his position until now. In a tweet, Icahn expressed his satisfaction with the recent changes at Illumina, stating, “While I believe the change of CEO should have come meaningfully sooner, it is still a very positive occurrence.”

The departure of deSouza marks a significant turning point for Illumina, as the company now embarks on the search for new leadership to guide it into the future. The board’s decision to consider both internal and external candidates demonstrates their commitment to finding the best individual to lead Illumina’s continued growth and innovation in the field of genomics. As the biotech industry eagerly awaits the appointment of the new CEO, Charles Dadswell will be at the helm, overseeing the company’s operations during this transition period.

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