The genomics community has been anticipating the announcement of a new CEO by Illumina for some time. Indeed, almost three months have passed since the company’s former CEO, Francis deSouza, announced his resignation.

Now, the company announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Jacob Thaysen, PhD, senior vice president of Agilent Technologies and president of its Life Sciences and Applied Markets Group, as CEO, effective September 25, 2023. 

“Illumina’s technology is at the forefront of sequencing and has set the pace for the industry. I am honored, privileged, and excited to lead such a great organization,” said Thaysen. “I’m planning to hit the ground running and looking forward to working with the incredibly talented teams at Illumina. Together, we will continue serving our customers as the industry standard and driving long-term value for our shareholders and other stakeholders.”

Thaysen was senior vice president of Agilent and president of Agilent’s Life Sciences and Applied Markets Group from 2018 to 2023, which consists of Agilent’s analytical instrument portfolio, informatics, and cell analysis franchise. Prior to leading Life Science and Applied Markets, Thaysen was president of Agilent’s Diagnostics and Genomics Group (from 2014 to 2018) and was an integral part of Agilent’s transition into a life sciences company.

Prior to joining Agilent, Thaysen was corporate vice president of R&D at Dako, a Danish cancer diagnostic company. Before joining Dako, he served as a management consultant at Copenhagen Consultancy Company (now Bain & Co). Early in his career, he was founder and chief technology officer of Cantion, a research and defense application development company based in Denmark.

Thaysen holds a PhD in physics from the Technical University of Denmark, and has a background in clinical (specifically oncology) diagnostics.

Thaysen, age 48, will become a member of Illumina’s Board of Directors upon joining the company and will relocate to the San Diego area from Northern California.

Charles Dadswell, interim CEO, will resume his position as senior vice president and general counsel once Thaysen becomes CEO. “I want to thank Chuck for his invaluable contribution as interim CEO during this important transition,” said Stephen P. MacMillan, chair of the board of Illumina. “We asked Chuck to take on this role, and he has served the company well over the last few months.”

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