Atara Biotherapeutics Inc. has appointed of Dr. Pascal Touchon chief executive officer and member of the board, the company announced Tuesday.

The company is headquartered in South San Francisco but has its major operations in Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks, where it manufactures T-cells for cancer therapy.

Touchon brings more than 30 years of global biopharmaceutical experience to the job, most recently serving as an executive at Novartis Oncology, where he supervised the global launch of Kymriah, a treatment for leukemia. He previously held executive positions in research, marketing and business development at Sanofi, Glaxo and Glaxo-Wellcome.

In connection with Dr. Touchon’s appointment, Dr. Isaac Ciechanover stepped down as chief executive officer, effective Tuesday. Ciechanover will serve as a special advisor to a subcommittee of the board that will lead the company until Touchon begins his tenure on June 24.

Ciechanover, who announced his intention to step down in January, said in a statement he was “thrilled with the appointment of Pascal, who I know will lead the company in its next stages of growth.”

Shares of Atara (ATRA) closed Tuesday down 88 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $22.33 on the Nasdaq.