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AstraZeneca picks Leif Johansson to be new chairman

Johansson, currently chairman of Ericsson, will replace Louis Schweitzer as the pharma company embarks on a major restructure

Leif Johansson - AstraZenecaAstraZeneca (AZ) wants Leif Johansson to be its new chairman following the retirement of Louis Schweitzer in September 2012.

Johansson, who is currently chairman of Sweden-based telecommunication company Ericsson, will also be proposed to shareholders as a non-executive director, effective April 26, 2012.

He joins at an uneasy time for the Anglo-Swedish pharma firm, with 7,300 job cuts announced last month as part of global restructuring efforts.

The company also expects a “low double-digit” decline for revenues at constant currency during 2012 due to generic competition and pricing pressures for global healthcare systems. This follows last year's 2 per cent drop in sales.

Prior to his appointment to Ericsson in April 2011, Johansson served 14 years as president and CEO of vehicle manufacturer Volvo.

Before joining Volvo, he was president of Swedish appliance makers Electrolux for 3 years, working his way up from joining as divisional manager in 1984.

As well as his strong consumer background, Johansson also has experience in science and pharmaceuticals.

He has an MSc in engineering from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and was a member of the board of Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) until September, 2011.

Johansson's current roles include board membership of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and chair of the European Business Roundtable of Industrialists.

“Leif is an outstanding businessman with a first-class track record leading multinational companies, as well as previous experience of the pharmaceutical industry,” said outgoing chair Schweitzer.

He will be joined on the board by Rexam's CEO Graham Chipchase and Unilever's chief R&D officer Geneviève Berger, who also become non-executive directors at the Anglo-Swedish pharma firm.

Meanwhile, John Varley will also take over as senior independent non-executive director, as well as retaining his role as chair of the AZ's remuneration committee his membership of the nomination and governance committee.

2nd March 2012

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