Moderna’s new financial chief left the COVID-19 vaccine maker after just one day on the job as his old employer revealed it had launched an internal probe of its bookkeeping.
Moderna chief financial officer Jorge Gomez’s brief tenure at the company ended Tuesday — within a day of dental equipment maker Dentsply Sirona’s disclosure of a probe related to “allegations regarding certain financial reporting matters submitted by current and former employees.”
The probe is examining whether the company’s use of incentives to sell products to distribution partners was “appropriately accounted for” in financial reports last fiscal year — and whether certain executives pushed the incentives to receive bonuses.
“The Audit Committee is also investigating allegations that certain former and current members of senior management directed the company’s use of these incentives and other actions to achieve executive compensation targets in 2021,” Dentsply added in a filing.
Dentsply Sirona informed the SEC that it would be delayed in filing a quarterly report due to the investigation.
Gomez had just started his role as Moderna’s CFO on Monday. He will receive 12 months of salary equal to $700,000 but will forfeit his $500,000 signing bonus and any eligibility for relocation reimbursement or new hire equity awards, Moderna said in an 8-K filing.
When his appointment was announced last month, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel was effusive in his praise of Gomez — stating that the executive’s “passion for sustainability and ESG aligns closely with Moderna’s vision to make corporate responsibility a critical part of who we are and what we do .”
Moderna announced Gomez’s departure in a brief press release on Wednesday, noting that he “has departed the company, effective immediately.”
The biotech giant said retired CFO David Meline would return to the role until Moderna can identify a permanent replacement.
“The announcement follows the May 10 public disclosure by Mr. Gomez’s former employer, Dentsply Sirona Inc., of an ongoing internal investigation into certain matters, including financial reporting,” Moderna said, without providing further details on the matter.
The announcement had little impact on Moderna shares, which were trading higher early Wednesday. The company’s stock is down more than 40% so far this year during a broader downturn in the market.
Moderna beat Wall Street’s expectations in its first-quarter earnings report earlier this month, revealing that sales of its COVID-19 vaccine had generated $5.9 billion in revenue. The company reported net income of $3.66 billion in the quarter.
For the full fiscal year, the company expects to earn $21 billion from its vaccine.
Moderna shares were down slightly in early trading Wednesday.