Illumina CEO resigns amid pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn

NEW YORK (AP) — Gene sequencing test maker Illumina Inc. said Sunday that its board has accepted the resignation of its CEO and director, Francis deSouza, effective immediately.

Charles Dadswell, senior vice president and general counsel, has been named interim CEO, while the board conducts a search for a new CEO. Illumina said deSouza, who has been with the company since 2013 and was named CEO three years later, will stay on in an advisory capacity until July 31.

“Illumina’s technology remains at the forefront of DNA sequencing and has continued to set the pace for the industry,” Illumina’s board chair, Stephen P. MacMillan, said in a statement. “We are confident Illumina can continue to execute on its goals, while we conduct and complete a CEO search process.”

The company, based in San Diego, said the board is looking at internal and external candidates.

The resignation comes as Illumina has been locked in a monthslong heated battle with activist investor Carl Icahn, over its $7.1 billion acquisition of cancer test maker Grail that has faced regulatory hurdles. Icahn had urged shareholders to vote out its chairman, John Thompson, and deSouza. Company shareholders voted out Thompson in late May.

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