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Illumina Stocks Surge as CEO Francis deSouza Resigns Amidst Controversies

Amidst turbulence and investor pressure, Illumina's CEO Francis deSouza steps down, triggering a premarket rise in the company's shares.

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Francis deSouza Resigns, Illumina Shares Soar

The gene-sequencing machine maker, Illumina Inc (NASDAQ: ILMN), saw its shares rise in premarket U.S. trading this Monday following the resignation of their Chief Executive, Francis deSouza. The unexpected development occurred over the weekend, boosting investor sentiment and prompting a surge in the company's stock.

Board Accepts deSouza's Resignation, Interim CEO Appointed

Illumina stated on Sunday that its board had accepted deSouza's resignation. In his stead, Charles Dadswell, the Senior Vice President and General Counsel, will serve as the interim CEO while the company embarks on the search for deSouza's successor.

Carl Icahn Views deSouza's Departure as a Win

The CEO's exit is being viewed as a victory for activist investor Carl Icahn, who has long-standing disagreed with the company over its reacquisition of the cancer diagnostic test maker Grail in 2021. Icahn maintained that the deal was detrimental to investors, costing billions of dollars, and advocated for its reversal. Icahn expressed his approval of the leadership change via a tweet, although he opined that it should have occurred much sooner.

Aftermath of Grail's Acquisition, a 60% Drop in Illumina's Stock Value

The controversy surrounding Grail's acquisition has significantly impacted Illumina's stock, which has lost about 60% of its value since the repurchase. Despite this setback, deSouza, while addressing his employees on LinkedIn, reaffirmed his faith in Grail's potential life-saving technology and its benefits to Illumina.

Potential Illumina-Grail Separation Looms on the Horizon

Analysts cited by Reuters suggest that deSouza's resignation may signal Illumina's intent to unwind its acquisition of Grail. Based in San Diego, Illumina is already facing regulatory pressures to divest Grail and is currently appealing an order from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to reverse the purchase.