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Martin Shkreli Is Replaced As Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO

Martin Shkreli has resigned as the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, one day after being arrested for securities fraud in New York City.
Andrew Burton
Getty Images
Martin Shkreli has resigned as the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, one day after being arrested for securities fraud in New York City.

One day after he was arrested on fraud charges, controversial drug executive Martin Shkreli has resigned his post as the leader of Turing Pharmaceuticals. Shkreli is currently free on bail.

Turing announced the change Friday, naming Ron Tilles, its current board chairman, as the interim chief executive officer.

"We wish to thank Martin for helping us build Turing Pharmaceuticals into the dynamic research focused company it is today, and wish him the best in his future endeavors," Tilles said in a statement about the move.

Shkreli's exit comes one day after Turing issued a short statement about the charges against him, saying on Thursday, "The legal matters concerning the founder and CEO Martin Shkreli are personal and have no bearing on Turing Pharmaceuticals."

The executive, who has been in the news for his company's much-criticized price hike on a drug used by HIV patients — from around $13 to $750 — and for his affinity for rap music, made headlines Thursday after federal agents arrested him.

The charges against Shkreli, 32, center on his behavior at several ventures he founded before he founded Turing: two hedge funds, and a biopharmaceutical company that filed a lawsuit against him this summer.

Thursday afternoon, Shkreli entered a not-guilty plea and was released on a $5 million bond. Law enforcement officials accuse him of running a Ponzi scheme, continually siphoning money away from newer businesses — including a public company — to pay off debts from older businesses, over a period from 2009 to 2014.

As we reported about the charges yesterday:

"Among the accusations leveled by the Securities Exchange Commission: that when Shkreli stated in 2010 that his hedge fund was managing $35 million in assets, the fund actually had less than a combined $1,000 in its bank and brokerage accounts.

"He's also accused of misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for his personal expenses and to settle claims against him."

In addition to fines and repayments, the government is seeking to bar Shkreli and his lawyer, Evan Greebel, from serving as officers or directors of companies.

The Justice Department says it's still investigating Shkreli for other possible violations.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.