- Illumina, whose board chair lost his position last week after a proxy battle with activist investor Carl Icahn, said Friday that Hologic CEO Stephen MacMillan and Edwards Lifesciences CFO Scott Ullem will immediately join the board of the DNA-sequencing company.
- MacMillan will become non-executive chair of the board, while Ullem will be a member of the audit committee.
- The board also elected independent director Sue Siegel as chair of Illumina's compensation committee, replacing Intuitive Surgical CEO Gary Guthart, who is rotating out of the post, Illumina said.
The election of MacMillan and Ullem, two veteran leaders of publicly traded medtech companies, expands Illumina’s board to 11 from nine members. The board expansion follows last week’s ouster of Illumina board Chair John Thompson.
In its proxy statement filed with regulators in April, Illumina said its nominating/corporate governance committee had worked with an executive search firm for the past two years to identify the new directors. The board evaluated 85 candidates before proposing MacMillan and Ullem as additions.
The two executives “have strong track records of risk management, oversight and stewardship of capital; illustrious leadership in life sciences businesses; financial expertise; experience leading complex financial transactions, including M&A; and successful membership on other public company boards,” Illumina said.
MacMillan has led a turnaround at Hologic since joining the company as president and CEO in 2013. He added the title of chairman at Hologic in 2015. Before joining the company, he was president and CEO of Stryker. Ullem has been the CFO of Edwards Lifesciences since 2014 and was CFO of Bemis before that.
Thompson’s ouster last week as independent chair of Illumina followed a proxy fight initiated by Icahn in March over Illumina’s unwillingness to quickly divest Grail, the liquid biopsy company it acquired two years ago. U.S. and European regulators oppose the deal. Illumina is appealing orders from both the Federal Trade Commission and European Commission to divest Grail.
Regulators contend Illumina’s control of Grail is likely to constrain competition in the liquid biopsy market because Illumina is the dominant producer of the next-generation sequencing platforms that analyze blood samples from the multi-cancer early-detection tests.
Illumina shareholders last week replaced Thompson on the board with Andrew Teno, a portfolio manager at Icahn Capital. Shareholders also disapproved of Illumina’s executive compensation in an advisory vote.