Oxygen Biotherapeutics, a small Morrisville company, announced this afternoon that it has terminated CEO Chris J. Stern.
According to a filing with the Security and Exchange Commission, Stern was dismissed "in connection with an Audit Committee investigation concerning conduct by Mr. Stern and its potential impact on the company."
Stern will not be paid severance because of "the circumstances surrounding his dismissal," according to a company statement issued after the close of trading.
Ellen Corliss, vice president of corporate communications and investor relations, said in an telephone interview that she could not comment on the audit committee's findings beyond what had been filed with regulators.
Michael B. Jebsen, the current chief financial officer and treasurer, was named interim CEO. Jebsen has been CFO since 2009.
Oxygen Biotherapeutics, which employs about 14 people locally, is developing medical and cosmetic products. In June, it raised $4.6 million for research and development into various topical products to treat dermatitis, itching and acne, Corliss said. It also is continuing studies of treatments for traumatic brain injuries and decompression sickness.
"We will move swiftly, but deliberately, in our search for a new CEO,"
Rene Eckert, interim Chairman of the Board, said in a statement.
Eckert was appointed chairman today, replacing Stern who had served in that position.
The company also has postponed its annual shareholder's meeting by one week, pushing it to Sept. 30.
Oxygen Biotherapeutics moved to Durham from California in 2008 when Stern became CEO upon the death of his predecessor . The company still has an R&D office in California that employs about a half dozen people, Corliss said.