Bavarian Nordic Appoints Russell Thirsk as new Chief Operating Officer

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, January 19, 2022 – Bavarian Nordic A/S (OMX: BAVA) announced today the appointment of Russell Thirsk as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, effective from April 1, 2022. Mr. Thirsk will take over this position from Henrik Birk, who has decided to seek new challenges outside Bavarian Nordic. The timing allows a period of handover from Henrik Birk to ensure a smooth transition. 

Mr. Thirsk joins Bavarian Nordic from GSK, where he has served as Head of Operations at GSK Vaccines in Belgium since 2016, a role he assumed after GSK’s acquisition of Novartis’ vaccine business, where he served for more than two decades, holding leadership roles of increasing responsibility in vaccine manufacturing operations across various geographies. Mr. Thirsk holds a Master of Chemical Engineering from University of Nottingham.

“I am very pleased to welcome Russell to Bavarian Nordic. He brings extensive experience, both from a technical and a leadership perspective from the vaccine industry, where he has led several complex build-up and transformation projects and has had oversight of some of the world’s largest commercial vaccine manufacturing operations. Russell joins us at a very exciting and transformative period, where we continue to expand our manufacturing infrastructure to support our ambition to become one of the world’s largest pure play vaccine companies. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Henrik Birk for his significant contributions to Bavarian Nordic’s development and success over the past 14 years. Henrik has led our operations through pivotal changes at Bavarian Nordic and has been instrumental in the scale-up and expansion of our facility into a fully-fledged vaccine manufacturing site, which is key to our continued growth. We wish Henrik all the very best for the future and in his new position” said Paul Chaplin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bavarian Nordic. 

“I am excited to join Bavarian Nordic at this pivotal stage with two vaccine candidates with the potential to significantly impact and transform Bavarian Nordic. We are facing exciting times ahead, and I look forward to joining a team of dedicated and highly qualified people committed to improving and saving lives,” said Russell Thirsk.

About Bavarian Nordic
Bavarian Nordic is a fully integrated vaccines company focused on the development, manufacturing and commercialization of life-saving vaccines. We are a global leader in smallpox vaccines and have been a long-term supplier to the U.S. Government of a non-replicating smallpox vaccine, which has been approved by the FDA, also for the protection against monkeypox. The vaccine is approved as a smallpox vaccine in Europe and Canada. Our commercial product portfolio furthermore contains market-leading vaccines against rabies and tick-borne encephalitis. Using our live virus vaccine platform technology, MVA-BN®, we have created a diverse portfolio of proprietary and partnered product candidates designed to save and improve lives by unlocking the power of the immune system, including an Ebola vaccine, which is licensed to the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. We are also committed to the development of a next generation COVID-19 vaccine. For more information visit

Forward-looking statements
This announcement includes forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside of our control, that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements concerning our plans, objectives, goals, future events, performance and/or other information that is not historical information. All such forward-looking statements are expressly qualified by these cautionary statements and any other cautionary statements which may accompany the forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances after the date made, except as required by law.

Europe: Rolf Sass Sørensen, Vice President Investor Relations, Tel: +45 61 77 47 43
US: Graham Morrell, Paddock Circle Advisors,, Tel: +1 781 686 9600

Company Announcement no. 01 / 2022

Published on January 19, 2022, 9:13 CET