A Trio of Transitions: Altus, Kronos, and Terra-Gen Power Announce Management Changes

2/5/08

Change is in the air today, and I’m not just talking about the primary. (But hey, don’t forget to vote!) Three local firms are announcing shifts in top-level personnel.

Cambridge, MA-based Altus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALTU) revealed that president, CEO, and board member Sheldon Berkle has resigned all three roles as of yesterday. The chair of the board, David D. Pendergast, is stepping in as “executive chairman” while Altus looks for a new president and CEO; Pendergast was formerly the CEO of Cambridge’s Transkaryotic Therapies and became the president for human genetics therapies at Shire Pharmaceuticals when the pharma acquired that firm in 2005.

Berkle has led Altus for the last two and a half years, and was at the helm during the biopharmaceutical firm’s January, 2006 IPO. Altus didn’t give a reason for Berkle’s resignation, but an AP report from this morning quotes an investor note from Cowen and Co. analyst Eric Schmidt as saying that “Altus’s track record as a public company has been poor and that management credibility has suffered as a result.” Shares of the firm were up nearly 10 percent ($0.53) in mid-afternoon trading, to $6.13, on the news of the resignation.

A little more than six months after his company went private in a $1.8 billion buyout deal with private equity firm Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners VI, Paul Lacy is announcing his plans to retire from Chelmsford, MA’s Kronos. Lacy has been at Kronos for 20 years, serving previously as executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer, and (since 2005) as the company’s president. During those two decades, Kronos transformed from a maker of microprocessor-based time clocks to an enterprise software firm focused on various HR applications.

“It has been a distinct privilege to be part of Kronos’ evolution to one of the most respected and successful companies in the technology industry,” Lacy said in a statement. Kronos is already searching for Lacy’s replacement and expects to complete the transition by this June.

Finally, renewable energy firm Terra-Gen Power announced that power-industry veteran James Pagano will become its Chief Executive Officer. Terra-Gen is based in New York, NY—not exactly local, I know, but the firm is owned by affiliates of Boston-based energy-investment firm ArcLight Capital Partners. In December, Terra-Gen acquired 824 megawatts worth of interests in U.S. geothermal, wind, and solar generating plants from Caithness Energy, one of the companies for which Pagano previously worked.

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