Alexion's C-suite overhaul continues as CFO, R&D chief exit, new commercial head enters

Brian Goff
Baxalta vet Brian Goff will replace Carsten Thiel as Alexion's chief commercial officer.

Alexion, picking up the pieces after a sales scandal, pushed its C-suite makeover into second gear. Four members of the company’s top brass are set to move on, the company said Tuesday, and meanwhile, new skipper Ludwig Hantson has made his first key hire.

R&D chief Martin Mackay will retire at the end of this year, the Connecticut biotech said, and CFO Dave Anderson—whose short-lived tenure began last December with the departure of predecessor Vikas Sinha—will resign at the end of August. Alexion has tapped exec search firm SpencerStuart to scout out replacements for both.

But they’re not the only ones making an exit. Commercial chief Carsten Thiel and EVP and head of human resources Clare Carmichael are packing up, too, and Alexion is already recruiting for the latter position.

RELATED: Alexion replaces CEO, CFO amid Soliris sales fraud investigation

Alexion has completely remade its upper exec ranks over the last 6 months, beginning with the exits of Sinha and then-CEO David Hallal. The pair left the company amid sales fraud investigations that ultimately showed the company’s higher-ups had inappropriately pressured staff to pad sales of lead med Soliris.

To replace Thiel, Hantson has brought on Brian Goff, a pharma veteran with stints at J&J, Novartis, and Baxalta, which Hantson helmed before selling the company to Shire last year. Goff “brings to Alexion the expertise and proven track record that will help us continue to build on our global leadership position, as well as a passion for developing talent and cultivating a high-performing culture,” Hantson said in a statement.

The drugmaker landed Hantson to fill Hallal’s spot in March, and analysts initially had their reservations about the Big Pharma vet. “Investors are likely to question his ability to reinvigorate Alexion,” Leerink Partners’ Geoffrey Porges wrote to clients at the time. “His experiences and background are very much from legacy product big pharma, and there is much less technology and scientific judgment in Baxalta’s range of blood products than in Alexion’s unique biopharmaceuticals.”

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So far, though, Hantson seems to have silenced at least some of his doubters, with Porges noting after the company’s Q1 call that the Alexion chief had “performed creditably.”

Meanwhile, Alexion apparently hasn’t closed the door on sales probes. Earlier this month, authorities raided the company’s Sao Paulo, Brazil, offices as part of an investigation into whether the company had subsidized lawsuits for patients to gain Soliris access.