Seagen co-founder, CEO resigns after allegations of domestic violence

Seagen co-founder, CEO resigns after allegations of domestic violence

The chief executive of Seagen, Washington’s largest biotech firm, resigned Monday after allegations of domestic violence against him came to light. 

Clay Siegall, who also served as chairperson of the company, was arrested April 23 at the Edmonds-area home he shared with his wife. Police contend Siegall, 61, assaulted his wife early that morning during an argument witnessed by guests. 

Siegall will leave Seagen, known as Seattle Genetics until 2020, with a severance package that includes 1.5 times his annual salary and bonus, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Siegall was paid $16.5 million in 2020, making him Washington state’s highest paid CEO, as calculated by The Associated Press and the executive data firm Equilar. 

Siegall, who co-founded Seagen in 1997, had taken a leave of absence last week after news of his arrest appeared in pharmaceutical trade publications. His resignation was approved by Seagen’s board of directors Monday.

The 3,000-employee company said it has appointed Chief Medical Officer Roger Dansey as interim CEO while it searches for a new chief executive. Dansey has been with the company since 2018, according to SEC filings. Seagen shares rose nearly 6% following the news of Siegall’s resignation.

When Siegall’s leave of absence was announced, Seagen said it was also launching an independent investigation into his conduct. In a news release, the company said that “Siegall’s resignation has not been driven by findings from the investigation.”

Woodway police went to Siegall’s home at 3:30 a.m. the day of his arrest after his wife called 911 saying he had attacked her, according to a police report. She declined to speak with police, who noted that she appeared to have injuries to her legs and forehead. Police were called in from neighboring jurisdictions to search the 11,600-square-foot home. 

In a petition for a protection order filed days later in Snohomish County Superior Court, his wife claimed Siegall threw her to the floor and dragged her around the home. She went on to describe Siegall as “angry, violent, controlling and threatening” throughout much of their eight-year relationship.

Siegall has denied the allegations. The couple filed for divorce in 2021 after two years of marriage but had reconciled. Siegall’s attorney did not return requests for comment Monday.

Siegall was released from Snohomish County Jail hours after his arrest and has not been charged in the matter. Yelena Stock, Woodway’s municipal prosecutor, said the case is currently under review.

Specializing in cancer technology, Seagen reported $1.6 billion in revenue in 2021 and a market capitalization of $26.2 billion. Besides the Seattle area, the company has locations in California, Canada, Switzerland and the European Union.

Seagen announced last April it was expanding its manufacturing capacity with a 270,000-square-foot facility in Bothell. The company said Siegall’s resignation will not impact its plans and schedule for the manufacturing plant.

“Seagen expects to have the facility operational in 2024 and ultimately employ up to 200 highly skilled workers to produce medicines for clinical trials and the commercial market,” the company said in a news release.

Siegall has also resigned as chairperson of Umoja Biopharma, a Seattle-based biotech startup. San Francisco-based Nurix Therapeutics said in an SEC filing Monday that Siegall has resigned from its board as well.

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