ZymoGenetics CEO Doug Williams Exits the Stage, Mulls Next Free Agent Move

11/8/10Follow @xconomy

Doug Williams, one of the few nationally prominent biotechnology executives in Seattle, has officially left his job as ZymoGenetics CEO now that the company’s $885 million takeover by Bristol-Myers Squibb has been completed, Xconomy has learned.

Both Williams and former ZymoGenetics president Stephen Zaruby have left the company after it was acquired last month by Bristol-Myers Squibb, according to Bristol spokeswoman Jennifer Fron Mauer. She didn’t say who else on the senior management team has left, or who is now in charge of Bristol’s new operation in Seattle. The New York-based pharma giant hasn’t yet decided what to do with the remaining Zymo employees, or its local facilities, she says.

Now that Williams, 52, is officially a free agent again, he will have his pick of various plum jobs. He has deep roots in Seattle going back to the 1980s, and has built up a big Rolodex and gained lots of executive experience at Immunex, Amgen, Seattle Genetics, and ZymoGenetics. Williams is obviously still young enough to run another mid-cap biotech company, start a new venture, or do something else. As his longtime friend and legal advisor Stephen Graham of Fenwick & West once said, Williams has a reputation as a “calm, thoughtful, insightful and unflappable” business leader.

“Doug is one of the key players in the Seattle market that has CEO experience and a solid scientific background,” says Bob Nelsen, managing director with Arch Venture Partners in Seattle. “He can do anything he wants, from CEO, startup, to VC. Hopefully he stays here! I would back him any day.”

When I spoke with Williams yesterday by phone, he confirmed he’s looking at a number of different job opportunities. “I’m not ready to hang up the cleats yet,” he says. “I sort of feel that after 20-plus years in the business, I’m starting to figure out some of the do’s and don’ts. I’m definitely not ready to stop. I enjoy working in this business.” [For the full interview with Williams, check Xconomy tomorrow.]

As with anybody who’s been around biotech for a long time, Williams has a track record with its share of ups and downs. He was the chief technology officer at Immunex when that company had its breakthrough success with etanercept (Enbrel), and he was there when the company failed … Next Page »

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