Moderna says David Meline, its former finance chief, will be returning to the role after an extremely short retirement. His successor, Jorge Gomez, became the vaccine maker's chief financial officer on Monday. He left the company on Tuesday after his former employer, dental products maker Dentsply Sirona, disclosed that an internal investigation was underway into possible financial improprieties, the Wall Street Journal reports. Moderna says Gomez will receive a year's pay of $700,000 as part of his severance package, though he'll forfeit a $500,000 signing bonus.
"The departure of Jorge Gomez was solely in response to information that Moderna learned and acted quickly upon," Moderna spokesperson Chris Ridley tells Bloomberg. According to a Tuesday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Dentsply is investigating whether the use of incentives to sell products to distributors was properly accounted for—and whether senior executives used those incentives to achieve executive compensation targets. Gomez, who was Dentsply's CFO for three years, was paid $3.6 million last year, including bonuses, according to a company filing.
Dentsply interim CEO John Groetelaars said Tuesday that the probe is looking at the use of incentives by "both former executives as well as potentially executives that are still here, to hit compensation targets," per the Journal. Last month, Dentsply abruptly fired chief executive Don Casey without saying why. Don McMurchy at executive search firm RSR Partners says that hiring companies are often reluctant to call references while a potential employee is still at a firm, which makes it hard to find out about internal investigations. (Read more Moderna stories.)