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Lilly’s president and chief executive John Lechleiter to retire

David Ricks selected to succeed Lechleiter from 1 January 2017
Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly's John Lechleiter will retire from his position as president and chief executive officer at the end of the year, to be succeeded by David Ricks.

The current senior vice president and president of Lilly's largest business area Lilly Bio-Medicines was unanimously elected by the company's board of directors to fill the lead roles.

Lechleiter said that it is “the logical time for a transition in company leadership”, referencing Lilly's spate of patent protection expirations in recent years.

Sales of blockbuster lung cancer treatment Alimta (pemetrexed disodium) have suffered with UK and German courts ruling in favour of the generic competition, while patents for Lilly's osteoporosis drug Evista (raloxifene) and antidepressant Cymbalta (duloxetine) have also expired.

The stage is set, however, for a prolific period of product launches over the next seven years, according to Lechleiter.

The US pharma firm intends to launch 20 new molecular entities by 2023, supplemented by two new label extensions every year, across its core therapeutic areas of diabetes, immunology, oncology, neurodegeneration and pain.

Ricks, who will oversee this next stage as chief executive, said: “Lilly has the right strategy. Navigating major patent expirations in recent years, we've sharpened our focus and improved our vigilance and agility.

“Now, we must realise our growth potential in an increasingly challenging global marketplace.”

Ricks first joined Lilly in 1996 as a business development associate, and has since held a number of marketing and sales management roles including general manager of Lilly China and president of Lilly USA.

He became president of Lilly Bio-Medicines in 2012, overseeing its operations in the therapeutic areas of Alzheimer's disease, urology, immunology, musculoskeletal disease and pain.

Meanwhile Lechleiter has served as the company's head since 2008, having first joined in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in process research and development.

Lechleiter will continue as chairman of the board, albeit in a non-executive capacity, until June 2017 when Ricks will assume the role.

He said: “It has been a distinct honour and a privilege to serve this great company as its CEO these past eight years.

“I wish to thank all of my Lilly colleagues for their unfailing support as well as their extraordinary efforts throughout this period.”

Article by
Rebecca Clifford

28th July 2016

From: Sales

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