PALO ALTO — Controversial blood testing company Theranos announced that is President and COO Sunny Balwani is retiring from his position. The company is also expanding its Board of Directors, adding three members who are experienced in scientific, medical and executive leadership to the company.
The additions to Theranos’ board include Dr. Fabrizio Bonanni, who has an extensive background in operations, quality and compliance, having served in senior operating roles at Amgen Inc., the world’s largest independent biotechnology company, and at Baxter International Inc., a manufacturer of health care products.
Dr. Bonanni retired in 2013 from his position as executive vice president at Amgen. In his 14 years with Amgen, he served as senior vice president, Quality and Compliance and corporate compliance officer, senior vice president, Manufacturing, and finally executive vice president, Operations, overseeing the company’s global production and supply chain activities as well as Quality, Process Development, Drug Delivery Devices, Engineering, and Environment, Health and Safety.
While the company expands its executive team, Dr. Bonanni will work in a special capacity with management as it builds on its operations and quality systems infrastructure.
“Seeing what Theranos has created firsthand leaves me with no doubt that this company is poised to make an indelible impact in health care,” Dr. Bonanni said. “I am delighted to join the Theranos board and look forward to contributing to the company’s bright future in any way I can.”
“We are proud to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Bonanni as we build and scale best-in-class operations throughout our company,” said Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes. “Dr. Bonanni’s leadership and guidance in operations, quality and compliance is exceptional, and we are fortunate to add his experience to our team both on the board and to work with us internally.”
The other additions to the board are two leaders from the Theranos Board of Counselors, giving them a more direct role in decision-making and shaping the company: Dr. William H. Foege, epidemiologist and former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Richard M. Kovacevich, former chief executive officer of Wells Fargo & Co.
Dr. Foege has been working closely with the company and the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board as Theranos prepares to publicly introduce its technologies. “Theranos systems’ implications for global health could not be more profound,” Foege said.
“I look forward to continuing my work with Theranos,” Kovacevich said. “Theranos’ mission to change the paradigm of how we access and afford health care is an urgent problem that is incredibly important to our society.”
Both Dr. Foege and Mr. Kovacevich previously served on Theranos’ Board of Directors before joining its Board of Counselors, an advisory group. Dr. Foege also serves on the company’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board.
Theranos is also implementing a new organizational structure with dedicated corporate divisions for Technology and Clinical Operations. President and COO Sunny Balwani, who played a key role in Theranos’ product development, growth, and the implementation of its mission, is retiring from Theranos. The company has been undertaking searches for multiple executive positions, and Sunny will continue to support the transition process through its completion.
“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to contribute to Theranos’ mission to make healthcare accessible through its technology and products,” said Balwani. “I will continue to be the company’s biggest advocate and look forward to seeing Theranos’ innovations reach the world.”
“Sunny has made invaluable contributions to Theranos’ technology and business,” the Board of Directors said in a statement. “His passion for the Theranos mission and his leadership in core product initiatives has made a tremendous impact. We will miss him as a board member and are grateful for his extraordinary service.”
The appointment of Dr. Bonanni and the other board members comes a month after Theranos expanded its Scientific and Medical Advisory Board, whose members advise the company on the integration of its technologies into routine clinical practice, the upcoming publication and presentation of its work in scientific journals and at scientific meetings, and other clinical initiatives.