Recursion Appoints Heather Kirkby as Chief People Officer

July 31, 2019 12:30 UTC

SALT LAKE CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Recursion Pharmaceuticals, a next-gen biopharma company combining automated, experimental biology with artificial intelligence to discover and develop drugs at scale, today announced the appointment of Heather Kirkby as its Chief People Officer. In this newly created role, Heather will help amplify and accelerate Recursion’s commitment to attracting, hiring, and growing exceptional, diverse talent, and fueling a values-based culture.

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“Recursion’s mission is to decode biology to radically improve lives. We take that mission seriously and interpret it broadly; so while we spend a lot of time on how to leverage technology to bring life-saving medicines to patients quickly, we also invest deeply in improving the lives of our employees and their families,” said Chris Gibson, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO. “Heather brings a unique combination of engineering, marketing, product management, and people operations experience to this role. As impressive as her own career progression and cross-functional experience, Heather is also one of the most empathic, focused, and resilient people I’ve met. I feel so privileged to work with Heather and our entire team to create a life-changing environment for our employees.”

Heather received a degree in mechanical engineering from Queen’s University in Canada, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Her career started as a Schlumberger Field Engineer in arctic Alaska, where a love of technology was born. That experience led Heather to a different frontier, where she spent nearly two decades as a product manager at Intuit in Silicon Valley. Her passion for developing people and building great teams later helped her grow to become the head of Intuit’s global talent development function. As Heather reached the top level of service at Intuit she contemplated the impact she wanted to have in her life, which led her to embrace multiple areas for change, and join Recursion.

“It has fast become one of my greatest professional joys to work on a team with so many insanely smart, humble, motivated people,” said Heather Kirkby, Chief People Officer, Recursion. “Like others before me, I did some soul searching before making the leap to move my family, including my two daughters, from the Bay Area to Salt Lake City to take on this charge. While I was drawn in by the mission – a massively important cause – I was sold on the culture. I felt at home on day one at Recursion and that’s because it’s an open-minded, caring, committed environment that embraces new people and ideas. I’m grateful I found the place that I belong.”

Added Heather: “Building multi-disciplinary teams of highly skilled individuals that value each other’s strengths and collaborate exceptionally well is critical to our company’s success. I believe that the employee experience and culture can be designed like a product, focusing on employee and business needs, with the remarkable north star of improving patients’ lives.”

As a leader at the forefront of applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to drug discovery and development, Recursion’s team of 150-plus chemists, biologists, engineers, data scientists, and business professionals is a truly dynamic, multi-disciplinary team. Other fun facts about Recursion and what makes it a special place to work:

  • 40 percent of Recursion’s workforce are women and diversity of all kinds is deeply important to the team. Recursion is committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce and as a corporate goal aims to have 90 percent of new hires include at least one diverse candidate in the interview pool.
  • 37 percent of Recursion’s workforce came from out of state, contributing to a truly world-class organization in terms of talent, right here in Utah. At the leadership level, Heather joins Chief Operating Officer Tina Larson, Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Sharath Hegde, SVP of Translational Discovery Ron Alfa, VP of Core Operations Adeline Low, and VP of Innovation Biology Dan Anderson, in migrating from the San Francisco Bay Area to join Recursion. Other Recursionauts come from San Diego, Seattle, Boston, and Chicago, among other major hubs for tech and life sciences.
  • More than half of Recursion’s workforce have Ph.D., M.D., or other graduate-level technical degrees. From experienced drug hunters with decades of experience in big pharma to interns nearing completion of their undergraduate work, Recursion has massive diversity of backgrounds and experiences. In fact, 40 percent are high-science professionals (biology, chemistry), 35 percent are high-tech professionals (data science, software engineering) and 25 percent are business professionals (product management, intellectual property, etc.).

For more information on Recursion’s unique approach to leveraging artificial intelligence for drug discovery and development or to apply for jobs in data science, engineering, biology, and more, visit

About Recursion

Recursion is a next-generation, clinical-stage biopharma company combining experimental biology and automation with artificial intelligence in a massively parallel system to discover and develop drugs at scale, including rare disease, inflammation, immuno-oncology, and infectious disease. Recursion’s rich, relatable database of nearly 3 petabytes of biological images generated in-house on the company’s robotics platform enables advanced machine learning approaches to reveal drug candidates, mechanisms of action, and potential toxicity, with the eventual goal of decoding biology and advancing new therapeutics to radically improve lives. Recursion is headquartered in Salt Lake City and in 2019 was designated a Fast Company “Most Innovative Company.” Learn more at, or connect on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Media Contact:
Amanda Guisbond
Communications Director


Source: Recursion

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For more on why Heather joined Recursion and what her appointment will bring to the organization, watch the video.

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