Gilead CSO, Other Executives, Departing Company as CEO Continues to Reshape C-Suite


Gilead Sciences is seeing a significant change in its executive leadership team as multiple longtime employees are heading out the door as new Chief Executive Officer Daniel O’Day continues to shape the lineup of his lieutenants.

John McHutchison, Gilead’s chief scientific officer and head of research and development, will depart the company at the end of next month. Gilead said it will begin to search for his successor immediately. McHutchison has been with Gilead since 2010 and during his time the company has seen the approval of hepatitis drugs that have effectively served as a cure for the disease, as well as overseen the company’s expansion into oncology with the development of Zydelig. McHutchison was named CSO last year and has been responsible for broadening Gilead’s R&D focus, as well as advancing candidates in new therapeutic areas, including oncology, cell therapy and inflammation.

No information was provided as to why McHutchison opted to depart at this time or what his future plans may include. It’s a safe bet that McHutchison already is in talks with another company or has irons in the fire.

In a brief statement, O’Day, who joined Gilead as CEO in March, praised the accomplishments the company made under McHutchison’s guidance and leadership, particularly the advancement of Gilead’s vaunted hepatitis C portfolio.

McHutchison wasn’t the only senior leader to depart Gilead today. Chief Patent Officer Gregg Alton, who has been with the company since 1999 and Katie Watson, head of human resources, are both leaving Gilead Sciences. Alton will remain with the company through Oct. 4 and will serve in an advisory capacity until the end of the year to help transition his responsibilities to other parts of the organization, the company said.

Watson, who joined Gilead in 2003, will remain with the company until Sept. 1. Until the end of the year, she will serve in an advisory fashion to assist her replacement, Jyoti Mehra, who will become global HR head for Gilead in August. Mehra joined Gilead in 2017 as vice president of human resources. . Prior to joining Gilead, she held positions of increasing seniority at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. and Eli Lilly.

“It is a great privilege to take on this role and to lead Gilead’s Human Resources organization,” Mehra said in a statement. “As a company, Gilead has enjoyed tremendous success because of the smart and talented people who work here. It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to continue to shape Gilead’s culture in this position and to build on the company’s strong past by adding organizational capabilities.”

Since taking over at Gilead, O’Day has been steadily reshaped the executive team, as he had to deal with the departure of Alessandro Riva, who left to take over Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and the planned retirement of Chief Financial Officer Robin Washington. In May, O’Day tapped Bristol-Myers Squibb veteran Johanna Mercier as the company’s new chief commercial officer. Last week, Eli Lilly veteran Christi L. Shaw was tapped to take over the reins of Kite Pharma, the oncology-focused subsidiary of Gilead Sciences. Shaw will take over her role as CEO of Kite in August.

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