The Danish allergy specialist ALK appointed the CEO of Fertin Pharma, Peter Halling, in June. Halling took over from Carsten Hellmann after his seven-year stint in November. Hellmann’s tenure as CEO was characterised by several key strategic shifts, including deeper penetration of the US market, a move from injections to tablets, and a drive towards efficiency. This strategy paid off and profits soared from DKK 270m (USD 39.6m) in 2016 to DKK 335m in 2022. The announcement came after the departure of several prominent leadership figures at ALK, including its head of research Henrik Jacobi and CFO Søren Jelert.
At the end of 2022 former CEO Pierluigi Antonelli abruptly announced his departure and the Italian family-owned mid-cap appointed former Gilead leader Jacopo Andreose who took the reins in February of this year. The appointment came after a new generation of family stakeholders with new ambitions were looking to overhaul the company and Antonelli put a new strategic vision in place to reflect these ambitions.
In the five years since the Japanese drugmaker began a strategic shift and created an ambitious plan to maintain growth, former CEO Kenji Yasukawa helped Astellas move away from its previous business model and bounce back from failing revenues. With the appointment of former chief strategy officer Naoki Okamura as its new CEO, Astellas said it planned to “go on the aggressive” to further accelerate growth.
Having taken on the top job at Bayer this past April, former Roche Pharma head Bill Anderson had his work cut out for him. Taking over from veteran Werner Baumann, he has had to confront the string of lawsuits arising from the German giant’s crop science acquisition of Monsanto. The appointment came on the heels of a major R&D refocus within it pharma division and the company deciding to centre its efforts on ononcology, cardiovascular, neurology and rare diseases/immunology, and move away from women’s health.
Bristol Myers Squibb
At the end of May, Bristol Myers Squibb also went through a leadership reshuffle when Giovanni Caforio decided to retire as CEO. Christopher Boerner, who has been with BMS since 2015 and has led its global Commercial and Medical organisations and served as EVP, chief commercialization officer since 2018, took over on November 1. Under Caforio’s leadership, the company nearly tripled its revenue, completed its transformative combination with Celgene and launched 12 new medicines.
In January Italy’s Chiesi named former Baxter International Chief Operating Officer Giuseppe Accogli as its new CEO, substituting Marco Vecchia, who served as acting CEO after the departure of Ugo Di Francesco at the end of 2022. The news came just after the Parma-based family-run company acquired the rare disease specialist Amryt with its three FDA-approved drugs for USD 1.48 billion.
Australia’s largest biopharma company and plasma specialist CSL secured a new chief executive this year as well. After nearly four years as CSL’s Chief Operating Officer, Paul McKenzie assumed command in March, standing in for Paul Perreault who stepped down to retire after weathering a plasma collection crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic and establishing CSL’s 2030 strategy, which includes aggressive investment in R&D. McKenzie is set to continue to pursue further growth after the firm’s 2022 acquisition of Vifor Pharma and its approval for the Hemgenix gene therapy for Hemophilia B
Germany-based pharma and healthcare services group Fresenius has been through a number of upheavals in recent years and in mid 2023 its pharma division Fresenius Kabi named no less than its third CEO in three years, former Angelini Pharma CEO Pierluigi Antonelli. Under the previous CEO Michael Sen’s rule, Fresenius Kabi launched a five-year strategic roadmap, Vision 2026, set to increase its global competitiveness, but just seven months after taking the job, Sen abandoned the role to become CEO of the entire Fresenius group in October 2022. Antonelli is set to continue to roll out the strategy laid out in the company’s Vision 2026.
An end to the founding family’s leadership came in May with a new chief officer appointment at Spain’s Grifols. The Barcelona-based plasma specialist named its executive chairman Thomas Glanzmann as it new CEO, moving the two co-CEOs belonging to the Grifols founding family into new positions. Victor Grifols Deu became chief operating officer while Raimon Grifols took on the role of chief corporate officer. Grifols, hit hard by a COVID-related plasma shortage, has confronted significant debt and has las laid off 8.5 percent of its workforce.
Lundbeck’s Deborah Dunsire decided to step down in June and was replaced by Charl van Zyl, head of neurology solutions at UCB, as the company’s new CEO. Under Dunsire’s five-year leadership the Danish neuroscience firm considerably strenghtened its R&D pipeline. The firm is well positioned to see further revenue growth with its recently FDA-approved Rexult for agitation in Alzheimer’s disease.
Early in the year, biotech vaccine maker Novavax announced that ex-Harmony Biosciences and Teva alumni John C. Jacobs would succeed Stanley C. Erck as the company’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. Erck, who stepped down to retire, is credited with taking Novavax from a clinical development organisation to a global commercial vaccines company, a foundation the company claimed has placed it in a strong position to execute on its long-term strategy.
Teresa Graham, former Head of Global Product Strategy for Roche Pharmaceuticals, took on the role of CEO of the division in March. At the same time, the company elevated its chief medical officer, Levi Garraway, to the executive committee. Graham replaced Thomas Schinecker, who was serving as a transitional pharma head since the end of 2022 and who went on to become global CEO of the entire Roche group. The leadership shift took place during a year when Roche saw a sharp decline in its COVID-19 revenues.
Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva’s announcement late last year of the appointment of Richard Francis as president and CEO became effective in January, replacing Kåre Schultz, who retired after more than five years at the helm of the generics giant. Former CEO at Sandoz and a member of the Novartis executive team, Francis came to the role from gene therapy firm Purespring Therapeutics. He has been tasked with turning around Teva’s declining revenue tendency and in May revealed his “pivot to growth” strategy built on what Francis called its “commercial portfolio and biosimilars, innovative pipeline, generics powerhouse and focused capital allocation.”