Eli Lilly and Co. announced Tuesday morning its chief financial officer has resigned after company officials became aware of an “inappropriate personal relationship between Mr. Smiley and an employee.”
Joshua Smiley, the Indianapolis-based drugmaker’s CFO and senior vice president since 2018, is no longer with the company, Lilly said.
Lilly said Smiley also engaged in “inappropriate personal communications” with other employees.
Smiley was named CFO in January 2018 to succeed Derica Rice, who had earlier announced he was leaving the company. He had previously served as senior vice president, finance, and treasurer.
Smiley was Lilly’s second-highest paid employee, receiving total compensation of $7.35 million in 2019.
Lilly has named Anat Ashkenazi, who most recently served as senior vice president, controller and CFO of Lilly Research Laboratories, to succeed Smiley.
Lilly said that after learning of allegations of Smiley’s behavior, it immediately hired external lawyers to conduct a thorough, independent investigation.
“That investigation revealed consensual though inappropriate personal communications between Mr. Smiley and certain Lilly employees and behavior that Lilly leadership concluded exhibited poor judgment by Mr. Smiley,” the company said in a statement. “Lilly holds all employees accountable to its core values and strongly believes its executive officers carry an even higher burden in ensuring those values are upheld. Mr. Smiley did not meet that standard.”
Smiley’s conduct was not related to financial controls, financial statements or any other business matters or judgments, the company said.
Smiley did not immediately return a phone call from IBJ to his cell phone on Tuesday morning to comment.
“Lilly’s core values are integrity, excellence and respect for people. We expect all employees to live these values, and we expect exemplary conduct from our executives at all times,” David Ricks, Lilly chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
Smiley joined Lilly in 1995, and has held positions across finance, sales and marketing. Prior to joining Lilly, he worked in investment banking and consulting.
Ashkenazi has been with Lilly for nearly 20 years and has been senior vice president, controller and chief financial officer of Lilly Research Laboratories since 2016. In that role, she oversaw the CFOs of the company’s commercial businesses, as well as those for research and development, manufacturing and quality, and G&A functions. She also led the corporate strategic planning team and business transformation office. Previously, she served as chief financial officer for several of the company’s global business areas.
“We are confident in Anat’s ability to serve as our next CFO given her impeccable track record of leadership and business success across nearly all major parts of the company, most recently as corporate controller and head of strategy,” Ricks said.