CEO and Executive Committee


David Johnston, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President, Global Clinical Development

David Johnston, Ph.D., serves as executive vice president and global head of clinical development for PPD. He is responsible for project delivery and provides strategic direction to the company’s Phase II-IV organization in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and Asia-Pacific. Previously, Dr. Johnston oversaw PPD® Laboratories, the company’s industry-leading, comprehensive laboratory operations.

A biopharmaceutical industry veteran with 20 years of leadership experience in the management of clinical trials, Dr. Johnston joined PPD in 2013 from LabCorp, where he served as senior vice president and global head of the clinical trials business and founded the company’s companion diagnostics department. Dr. Johnston’s diverse experience in clinical research includes leadership of R&D teams, clinical trials quality assurance, multinational laboratory operations, and preclinical and late stage clinical development.

A pioneer in the field of personalized medicine, Dr. Johnston founded one of the industry’s first companion diagnostics initiatives, which has since supported dozens of co-development projects with pharma and led to the first laboratory-sponsored premarket approval filing using a novel commercialization model. He also has overseen the development of dozens of novel clinical genotyping assays in the areas of infectious disease, genetics and pharmacogenomics.

Dr. Johnston has served on several scientific advisory boards in the diagnostics and biotechnology sectors and has been an adjunct professor of clinical research at the Campbell University School of Pharmacy. A past recipient of the Triangle Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” leadership award, he also has volunteered on the boards for Prevention Partners and Be Active North Carolina.

Dr. Johnston earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.