CEO, Kite Pharma
In September, when Christi Shaw took over as CEO at Gilead Sciences’ oncology-focused subsidiary Kite Pharma, she became the rare pharma CEO who came up through the industry as a marketer. In the process, Shaw joined another exclusive club: She became one of the industry’s few women CEOs.
In 2016, Shaw made headlines for stepping away from her high-profile job as U.S. country head and president at Novartis to be a full-time caregiver for her cancer-stricken sister, who was enrolled in a clinical trial for a CAR-T treatment. About 11 months later, Shaw re-emerged and went back to work at Eli Lilly, heading up a unit that includes immunology, neurodegeneration and pain treatments.
This year, she was poached from Lilly to become CEO of Kite, which counts Yescarta among its cancer therapies. Shortly after her appointment, she told STAT her primary motivation for accepting the new post was the company’s focus on innovative CAR-T cancer treatments.