Angelini Pharma CEO Leaves Abruptly, What Next?


Angelini Pharma CEO Pierluigi Antonelli has announced that he is leaving his position with immediate effect, posing the question of what comes next for the leading Italian mid-cap.


Antonelli, profiled by PharmaBoardroom earlier this year, had been in position since 2019 having previously worked his way through the ranks at BMS, MSD, Sandoz, and Novartis, where his last position before becoming Angelini CEO was as head of Europe for the company’s oncology business unit and member of the oncology executive committee


While Angelini is yet to release a statement at time of press, Antonelli wrote on LinkedIn, “Today is my last day as CEO of Angelini Pharma, a great company which I led since early 2019. Thanks to the passion, dedication, hard work of all Angeliners, we have transformed the company along the four strategic pillars creating a growth platform for the years to come and a renewed culture based on values such as #meritocracy#agility#competence and #innovation.”


He continued, “I am very proud of our collective achievements obtained in the most unprecedented volatility in our continent. I humbly thank you all Angeliners for your dedication, unwavering resilience and willingness to embrace change. It has been a privilege to work together, to joy together for our results as well as to face challenges still together as a Team. You, Angeliners, do not need any best wishes for the future since you yourselves are the wind of your own sails and both the navigation and the journey are and will be great.


This transformation of the Italian family-owned company (with turnover of around EUR 900 million for 2021) included a shift in focus towards brain health and an expansion of its European footprint. Having overseen the biggest acquisition in the company’s history with the USD 960 million buyout of Swiss CNS biotech Arvelle Therapeutics, steered the firm through the COVID-19 pandemic, and withstood the initial impact of the global energy crisis, the news of Antonelli’s leaving may come as a shock to some.


On his future ambitions, he told PharmaBoardroom back in April that “We are a company in transformation with an appetite for innovation and are searching for distinctive assets in our focus areas. The journey in front of us is still long but we have a very dedicated and passionate team that truly aspires to translate our vision into reality and is intensely working make it happen. Angelini Pharma is a company to watch and, in the areas in which we work, to link up with.”


Whether Antonelli makes a move back to Big Pharma, joins up with another mid-sized firm, or takes a different tack completely will be one to watch in the coming weeks and months.


Similarly, with no clarity on whether Antonelli has quit or been asked to leave, it remains to be seen whether his replacement will be drawn from Angelini’s own ranks or if the company makes another big offer to an executive from global biopharma.


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