(CTN News) – The board of directors of Illumina announced on Sunday that the company’s CEO Francis deSouza resigned from the company just weeks after activist investor Carl Icahn attempted to remove him from his position.
According to a release from the company, the board of directors of the company is currently searching for a new CEO and is looking at both internal and external candidates.
In the interim, Illumina’s senior vice president and general counsel, Charles Dadswell, will act as CEO in the absence of the chairman.
It is effective immediately that DeSouza resigns, but he will remain on as an advisor until July 31st, at which point he will resign permanently.
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve Illumina for the past two decades,” deSouza said in the press release. Our team has made great progress together, but I believe we are still at the very beginning of what Illumina will be able to achieve by unlocking the power of the genome to improve human health in the future.
Icahn, who owns a 1.4% stake in Illumina,
The company known for its DNA sequencing technology and array-based technology, has been in a heated proxy war with the company.
There have been accusations made by billionaire investor Carl Icahn that Illumina’s executive management and board are failing to provide adequate oversight, particularly with regard to the company’s controversial acquisition in 2021 of cancer test maker Grail for $7.1 billion.
During a press tour earlier this year, Icahn accused deSouza of “desperately, funny and, most importantly, unsuccessfully” trying to spin “decidedly mediocre” quarterly results on the basis of “decidedly mediocre” financial results during an open letter to Illumina shareholders.
In late May, Icahn had urged shareholders to vote out deSouza and Thompson, who are two of the nine members of the board, from their positions on the board. After Thompson was booted from the board by shareholders, deSouza was able to keep his job until Sunday.
Earlier this week, activist investor Carl Icahn tweeted that he was delighted to see Illumina’s recent changes at the company.
Although there is no doubt that I believe a change of CEO should have come at a much earlier stage, I still consider it a very positive development,” he said.