Leveraging strong relationships to build Boards
Setting the Scene
Focused on advancing vaccines targeted at rapidly mutating virus infections such as HIV, Hepatitis C and Influenza, the subject of this case study is a Scandinavian company listed on Oslo Børs, with a dormant US subsidiary and aiming for cross-over financing and eventually NASDAQ IPO.
Following the unexpected departure of their CEO and finding themselves with a Founder Chairman as the largest shareholder (24%) and thus not optimal for governance, the company approached Coulter Partners to place both a CEO and Chairman. Coulter Partners was chosen because of their strong track record in the Nordics, transatlantic reach and global networks.
The team worked hard to align stakeholders, optimally sequence the CEO and Chairman searches and deliver a new CEO against a tight timeline ahead of JP Morgan’s Annual Healthcare Conference in 2015. We achieved a world class CEO appointment and a smooth transition for the outgoing Chairman. Furthermore, based on the initial mission for CEO and Chairman, we advised around the board’s composition and were able to attract 3 additional board members. Overall 2 US- and 2 Europe-based board members were appointed.
“On behalf of the BoD, I would like to once again express our big thank you for the professional and very successful CEO, Chairman & Board Member searches. It has been a great pleasure to work with you and your colleagues at Coulter Partners, and I look forward to our continued cooperation in the future.” – Chairman of the Board
36.9 million people are living with HIV worldwide
An estimated 2.6 million children are living with HIV
Elimination of mother-to-child-transmission is becoming a reality
There are nearly 110,000 people living with HIV in the UK
Setting the Scene
A venture capital backed company required independent directors to advise the Board on commercial and R&D strategy, and support the CEO to manage an exit strategy and/or commercialisation pathway.
The Board was composed of founders and investor representatives, but lacked the industry sector expertise required to support the CEO. There was a need to attract profiles with both vascular expertise and knowledge of value growth and exit strategies for early stage devices businesses. Coulter Partners were chosen for their
- reputation of successful work with VC backed businesses
- strong track record of appointments for early stage, rapid growth firms
- in depth understanding of relevant business models
The team was successful in guiding the appointment of two new directors and a restructuring of the board to balance its capabilities for its 3+ year horizons. Both board members recruited, one domiciled in the US and one in Europe, had extensive sector expertise and were able to add real depth to the board.
A distribution deal with their commercialisation partner was consequently agreed and the new directors and board structure enabled an additional funding round to be completed for the commercialisation phase.
“Thanks to the team at Coulter Partners for getting not just one, but two internationally experienced leaders from the stent area.” – Chairman