Layoff season might be slowing down, and it appears “step down season” is up next.

What’s up?

Step down season, we literally just said that. 

Yesterday, 54Gene announced that its CEO and co-founder Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, co-founder and CEO of 54gene had resigned from his position.

This news comes two months after the genomics startup laid off 95 employees due to funding restraints. It also comes a few weeks after another C-Suite employee, Ogochukwu Osifo, 54gene co-founder and vice president of engineering, announced his departure from the company. 

What’s pushing this wave?

It’s not clear why Ene-Obong is stepping down, but the company’s recent struggles are likely to be a contributing factor. After the recent layoff, there were unproven allegations of financial impropriety leveled against Ene-Obong.

Since its 2019 launch, 54gene has raised a total of $45 million in investments—including a recent 2021 $25 million series B round—to further its mission of advancing drug discovery in Africa. 

Speculations by online bystanders include thoughts that the company’s relevance post-COVID dwindled. During the pandemic, the startup played a pivotal role in conducting COVID tests across the country and purchasing necessary equipment. 

The big picture: 54gene’s General Counsel, Teresia L. Bost, will take over as interim CEO while Ene-Obong joins 54gene’s board of directors as a senior advisor. The company is also restructuring its business and plans to conduct a second round of layoffs as it moves to focus on unique genomics research.