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Lilly CEO retires

Eli Lilly reveals that its CEO and chairman, Sidney Taurel, will retire as CEO on 31 March 2008, with COO and president, John C Lechleiter to take over in April 2008

US-based pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has revealed that its CEO and chairman, Sidney Taurel, will retire as CEO on 31 March 2008.

Taurel will remain chairman of the company's board of directors until 31 December 2008, at which time he will retire from the board and from the company.

Dr John C Lechleiter, who is currently president and COO, will assume the role of president and CEO on 1 April 2008.

Taurel has been CEO since July 1998, and the chairman of its board of directors since the beginning of 1999. He joined Lilly in 1971 as a marketing associate in Eli Lilly International. After sales and marketing experiences in Brazil, Eastern Europe and France, he became general manager of the company's affiliate in Brazil in 1981.

Taurel then assumed the London-based role of vice president of Lilly's European Operations in 1983, and then moved to Indianapolis in 1986 as president of Lilly International. In 1993 he was named an executive vice-president of the company and president of the pharmaceutical division, and in 1996 was promoted to president and chief operating officer of the corporation.

Taurel is past chairman and a current member of the executive committee of the board of directors of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). He is also a member of the boards of both IBM Corporation and McGraw-Hill Companies.

Upon Taurel's recommendation, the company's board of directors has unanimously elected Lechleiter as the new CEO and president. He has served as president and COO since October 2005.

Lechleiter joined Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in process research and development and he became a head in that department in 1982.

In 1984 he began serving as director of pharmaceutical product development for the UK-based Lilly Research Center and he subsequently returned to the US in 1986 as manager of research and development projects for Europe.

In 1988, he became director of development projects management, and in 1989 assumed additional responsibility for pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, chemistry, manufacturing and control. In 1991, he was named executive director of pharmaceutical product development and became vice-president in 1993.

Lechleiter was appointed vice-president of regulatory affairs in 1994, vice-president of Lilly Research Laboratories in 1996 and senior vice-president of pharmaceutical products in 1998. In 2001, he became executive vice-president for pharmaceutical products and corporate development and then became executive vice-president of pharmaceutical operations in early 2004.

Taurel said of Lechleiter's appointment: "John is as prepared to lead this company as any CEO in our history. His decisive leadership, his personal style and his deep experiences across the entire value chain of our business uniquely qualify him to step in to this role in April. He is well-respected across the industry, he inspires Lilly employees and he embodies the company's core values."

18th December 2007

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