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Illumina Shares Fall on News of CFO Departure

NEW YORK – Illumina's shares fell as much as 10 percent in Friday trading on the Nasdaq following an announcement that CFO Sam Samad will leave the company to fill the same role at Quest Diagnostics.

Samad will leave the company on July 8, 2022, Illumina said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission after the close of the market on Thursday. "This departure is not the result of any disagreement on matters relating to the company's operations or its financial reporting, policies, or practices."

Joydeep Goswami, Illumina's chief strategy and corporate development officer, will serve as interim CFO while the company conducts a search for a permanent CFO, the firm said in a statement.

Samad served as Illumina CFO for more than five years. He will start at Quest on July 11, 2022. Samad is replacing Quest CFO Mark Guinan, who announced plans to retire earlier this year.

In a research note, Cowen analyst Dan Brennan reported that Illumina said Samad is "leaving for personal reasons, namely wanting to be on the East coast near family."

"A CFO departure for another company (in this case a slower growth one) naturally raises many questions," he wrote, "and in Illumina's case these include: Why leave so close to the Chemistry X launch given the strong enthusiasm management has continually expressed for this product cycle? Why leave, given the ongoing rapid/inflecting growth in (clinical) sequencing? Does the departure reflect anything about Illumina's market position, given the number of new competitive launches? Why is the timing fast (Samad is staying on for one month)? Does the timing reflect any concerns about the current quarter?"

Canaccord Genuity analyst Kyle Mikson suggested that "while the exit may appear alarming on the surface, we are not overly concerned at this juncture."

As of Friday afternoon, shares of Illumina were down 10 percent at $202.10.