Dendreon Corporation (Nasdaq:DNDN) today announced that John H. Johnson has informed the Board of Directors of his plans to step down as president and chief executive officer for personal reasons. Mr. Johnson has resigned from the Board, effective June 3, 2014, and the Board has elected Douglas G. Watson, Dendreon’s lead independent director, as chairman of the Board.
Dendreon’s Board is working with an executive search firm to help identify Mr. Johnson’s successor. Mr. Johnson will serve as chief executive officer until August 15, 2014.
“On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank John for his leadership, dedication, and passion for helping prostate cancer patients live longer and better lives through PROVENGE,” said Mr. Watson. “While serving as chief executive officer, John has made many significant contributions to Dendreon and driven important strategic initiatives to help reposition the Company, including launching a new commercial strategy, gaining marketing authorization in the European Union, increasing manufacturing efficiencies, significantly lowering costs, and advancing our clinical pipeline.”
“I want to thank the team for all that they have accomplished over the past two years in the face of significant challenges,” said Mr. Johnson. “I first joined Dendreon because of my admiration for the Company as a pioneer in immunotherapy and because of my belief in the power of PROVENGE as a personalized cancer treatment. That belief still holds true today. While now is the right time personally for me to transition from my leadership role, I am confident that PROVENGE will continue to be an important treatment option to help patients in their fight against cancer. Dendreon has some of the most passionate and dedicated employees in the industry, and I know they will remain focused on the Company’s important mission.”
Mr. Watson has served as one of Dendreon’s independent directors since February 2000. He is chief executive officer of Pittencrieff Glen Associates, a consulting firm that he founded in 1999. Prior to that, Mr. Watson’s career spanned 33 years with Geigy/Ciba-Geigy/Novartis, during which time he held a variety of positions in the UK, Switzerland and the U.S. Mr. Watson was president of Ciba U.S. Pharmaceuticals Division from 1986-1996, when he was appointed president and chief executive officer of Ciba-Geigy U.S. Corporation. Mr. Watson also served as president and chief executive officer of Novartis U.S. Corporation from 1997-1999. Mr. Watson currently serves as chairman of OraSure Technologies, Inc. and is a director of Wright Medical Group, Inc.