Just a day after being arrested on charges of securities fraud, Martin Shkreli, the “most hated man in America,” has resigned as chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, as reported by the Guardian.
His company made headlines across the world for all the wrong reasons earlier this year by hiking the price of a drug used to treat a deadly parasitic infection by more than 4,000 percent. After reneging on a promise to cut the cost of the drug, Daraprim, a group of FBI agents detained him at his Manhattan home on charges that he tricked investors in his former hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management.
The chairman of Turing Pharmaceuticals, Ron Tilles, has now been appointed as interim CEO. “We wish to thank Martin Shkreli for helping us build Turing Pharmaceuticals into the dynamic research-focused company it is today, and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” said Tilles in a statement.
Tilles was once a significant figure at Retrophin, a company that Shkreli founded in 2011 and ran until he was removed from the board in 2014. In a lawsuit Retrophin filed against Shkreli, Tilles is named as one of his “close personal associates.” It is this old company that Shkreli has been accused of using to personally enrich himself in order to pay off investors in his hedge funds, who were hemorrhaging money.
Although Shkreli was released from prison on bail to the tune of $5 million (£3.36 million), it’s unlikely that his immediate future will feature anything positive. The investigation is ongoing, his Twitter feed appears to have been hacked, and an incredibly rare, $2 million (£1.2 million) Wu-Tang Clan double-album he acquired was almost taken from him by the FBI.
Shkreli has, of course, denied the charges, which if proven true could see him spend up to 20 years behind bars. Whether he is ultimately proven to be guilty or not, it is clear that he has no comprehension of public relations: At a recent Forbes Healthcare Summit, he said he wished that he had raised the price of Daraprim even higher.
While his resignation may be seen as a victory for many, whether his successor will right any of his wrongs remains to be seen.
Update: Since this story was published, Shkreli has been fired as CEO of another pharmaceutical company, KaloBios.