AEterna Zentaris Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:AEZS) shares are tumbling nearly 7% in Monday’s trading session, following the news that CEO David Dodd is stepping down and will be succeed by Michael Ward. Most recently, Ward served as Chief Compliance & Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary for Sagent Pharmaceuticals and led its sale to Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical for $736 million.

If David Dodd turned around AEZS, why is he out? asks Maxim analyst Jason Kolbert.

The analyst wrote, “This is a decision that comes as a disappointment and a surprise to us, as Mr. Dodd has done a masterful job of turning the company around. We have seen him to be a high integrity, sincere, experienced and diligent shepherd of the company. We are disappointed at the Board’s decision and suspect there may be some internal strife at the board level.”

“Will AEterna be sold? The company additionally announced that it has formed a special committee of independent directors (the “Strategic Review Committee”) to consider and evaluate various strategic and financing alternatives available to the Company to maximize shareholder value, including continuing to execute on its existing business plan and/or considering and recommending changes to the company’s management and governance,” the analyst continued.

Kolbert reiterates a Buy rating on shares of AEterna Zentaris with a $4.00 price target, which represents a potential upside of 39% from where the stock is currently trading. (To watch Kolbert’s track record, click here)

All the 3 analysts polled in the past 12 months rate Aeterna Zentaris stock a Buy. With a return potential of 45%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $4.17.