Shares of Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ:ILMN) were on a downward trend on Tuesday following the announcement that Jay Flatley, who has been the company’s long-standing CEO, was stepping down.
There has been a lot of uncertainty, especially among the company’s investors following the announcement. Flatley has been the company’s chief executive officer since 1999 before Illumina was listed on the stock exchange. He was, therefore, present every step of the way as the company climbed the corporate ladder to become a multibillion-dollar firm. However, Flatley’s exit from his position does not mean that he is leaving the company. He will be stepping down from the CEO position so that he can take over the executive chairman position which he was elected to by the board of directors in a vote that took place on March 5 this year.
Flatley is expected to take over his new office as of July 5. This means he has a bit of time to hand over his CEO office to his successor who will most likely be Illumina’s current president, Francis deSouza though it is yet to be confirmed. Flatley will maintain his position as a board member of the firm. Mr. deSouza has been Illumina’s president since December 2013, and he was appointed as the company’s director in January 2014.
Before he was appointed as president at Illumina, deSouza was the head of products and services at Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC) where he operated from 2011 to 2013. He is also well recognized by the investor community where he is featured as a prominent leader. His rise as the most qualified successor for Flatley will therefore not be a surprise to most investors as indicated by BTIG analyst Dane Leone.
Leone, however, believes that it might not yet be the right time for the transition. Illumina’s stock registered a 4% drop in the stock market at midday following the announcement. The stock rested at about 155, and the firm has been trying to recover from a four-month low of 130.37 that was recorded on February 8.