In "Pursuit of Passions," Ironwood CEO Will Step Down

Mallon_David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty

Ironwood CEO Mark Mallon pictured above. David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Chief Executive Officer Mark Mallon will step down from his role at the helm of the Cambridge, Mass.-based company. He will be replaced on an interim-basis by Thomas McCourt, who currently serves as company president.

Mallon’s last day at the company will be March 12. He is leaving the company to pursue another leadership opportunity, Ironwood said in its announcement. The board of directors will conduct a search for a full-time replacement for Mallon.

In an outgoing statement, Mallon said the decision to leave Ironwood was not an easy one to make. But, he said the chance to “pursue multiple passions of mine” was the right decision for him and his family. Neither Mallon nor Ironwood hinted what the next role will be.

“I’m proud of the strong foundation we have built together, and Ironwood’s disciplined execution in 2020 underscores the outstanding focus and commitment of the entire Ironwood team. I have every confidence in Ironwood’s ability to continue driving growth in its efforts to deliver value for patients and shareholders with Tom at the helm,” Mallon said in a statement.

Julie McHugh, chair of the Ironwood Board of Directors, thanked Mallon for his leadership during a transformative time in Ironwood’s history. Pointing to the success of Linzess, the company’s irritable bowel syndrome treatment, she said the board believes the company is on the right path to long-term value creation.

“The resilience and strength of Linzess, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with continued profit and cash generation in 2020 provides a solid foundation for the future. With a strong bench of leadership talent and the support of the board, we will strive to continue to build on our positive momentum while remaining true to our vision of becoming the leading GI-focused healthcare company in the U.S.,” said McHugh, who will become executive chair of the board of directors following Mallon’s departure.

Regarding the service of McCourt as interim CEO, McHugh said he has been a key member of the leadership team and was critical to the successful launch and commercialization of Linzess, which was developed by Ironwood and Allergan, now a subsidiary of AbbVie, and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2012.

“Tom is a GI healthcare industry veteran with a deep understanding of Ironwood’s business, making him an ideal fit for this role as the board conducts its search. I look forward to continuing to work with Tom and to lead the board in my role as executive chair,” McHugh said.

McCourt joined Ironwood in 2009 and has served as president since April 2019. Over the course of his tenure with Ironwood, he has held a number of leadership roles, including head of marketing and sales and chief commercial officer. Prior to Ironwood, McCourt held roles at Amgen and Novartis. McCourt was also part of the founding team at Astra-Merck Inc., leading the development of the medical affairs and science liaison group. McCourt serves on the board of directors of Acceleron Pharma Inc., including as a member of the audit committee and the chair of the nominating and governance committee, and on the board of trustees for the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

“I look forward to serving as interim CEO as we work to execute our strategy of maximizing Linzess, building an innovative GI development portfolio and delivering sustainable profits and cash,” McCourt said in a statement. “We are steadfast in our mission of advancing the treatment of GI diseases and redefining the standard of care for GI patients. With disciplined execution, we believe Ironwood is well positioned for 2021 and beyond.”

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