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Ranbaxy CEO resigns

Malvinder Singh has resigned as CEO and chairman of the board at Ranbaxy four years ahead of schedule

Malvinder Singh has resigned as CEO and chairman of the board at Ranbaxy four years ahead of schedule.

He will be replaced as CEO by chief operating officer Atul Sobti, and as chairman by Tsutomu Une, a non-executive director of Ranbaxy.

Singh's rapid departure will come as a shock after executives had insisted he would be staying at the helm when he sold a controlling stake to the Japanese pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo in June 2008. His term was expected to run to 2013.

In addition to Singh, two other Singh-family members, Sunil Godhwani and Balvinder Dhillon, also resigned. Their departure marks the exit of all of the former Indian promoter family from the board  after it controlled the company for more than half a century.

Singh leaves behind a drugmaker poised to post a second year of losses and whose stock was the worst performer on the Sensitive Index before the resignation yesterday. Since the announcement, Ranbaxy has soared 21 per cent in Mumbai trading, while India's benchmark Sensitive Index jumped 44 per cent.

A spokesman for the Japanese drugmaker said the management change "strengthens Daiichi Sankyo's part" in decision making.  Une also indicated that the move was aimed at "accelerating growth" at Ranbaxy.

"Mr Sobti has experience working with a Japanese company," Daiichi Sankyo CEO Takasjhi Shoda said. "That experience means a lot to Daiichi Sankyo."

26th May 2009

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